Clashes bring appointment to Libya’s army

Clashes bring appointment to Libya’s army

Clashes bring appointment to Libya’s army

Libyan gunmen roam along Zawiyah Street in the Libyan capital Tripoli. AFP photo

A gunfight erupted in Tripolion Jan. 3, killing four in clashes between militias who helped topple Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, as Libyan rulers appointed an ex-colonel as chief of the new army, whose job will be to control these fighters.

A group of men from Libya’s third-biggest city Misrata traded anti-aircraft and heavy machinegun fire with a militia from a central Tripoli neighborhood in broad daylight, witnesses and militia commanders said. The fighting raised fresh concerns over the issue of militias in Tripoli and the potential security threat they pose months after Gadhafi’s ouster.

In the absence of regular security forces, the militias provide a semblance of order on the streets, but often clash between themselves. As a step in that direction, Libya’s rulers appointed an ex-colonel to head the new national army whose job, in part, will be to bring these militias under control and help integrate them into security forces.

 Yussef al-Mangush, who took voluntary retirement from Gadhafi’s military in late the late 1990s and is currently a deputy defense minister, was promoted to the rank of general and appointed as chief of staff of the new army. Meanwhile, Libya’s interim government has proposed a draft law for electing an assembly to draft a new constitution, a first step to setting up a new government after the ouster of Gadhafi. The draft, published Jan. 2 night on the website of the ruling National Transitional Council, would bar former members of Gadhafi’s regime from running in the election. It would even ban anyone who got a degree based on academic research on the Green Book.

Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.