Libya ruler admits impotency
Chairman of the National Transitional Council (C) Abdul Jalil talks to protesters in Benghazi who were wounded in the war in this photo. Jalil admits they have made many mistakes during the transition period. REUTERS photoLibya’s leader has admitted that his transitional government is powerless to control militias that are refusing to lay down their arms after ousting Moammar Gadhafi, as fierce clashes between two tribes in Libya’s remote southeastern desert have killed more than 100 people over the past 10 days.
Libya’s leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil also warned that remnants of the former regime still pose a threat, and that it will take years for Libya’s new leaders to overcome the “heavy heritage” of corruption and distrust after more than four decades of Gadhafi’s rule.
“We made many mistakes,” he said. “Democracy and taking votes to make decisions in too many incidents led us to these mistakes,” he said. “My vote as someone who entered the council last year is considered equal to the vote of a member who joined the council this February.” At least 113 people from the Toubu tribe and another 23 from the Zwai tribe have been killed in the town of Kufra since fighting erupted Feb. 12, sources said Feb. 21. “We have been under siege for a week. Since the start of the clashes, 113 people [from our side] have been killed, including six children,” Toubu chief Issa Abdelmajid told AFP by telephone. He said another 241 members of his tribe have been wounded.
Gadhafi loyalists form own militia
Abdul Jalil said the governing National Transitional Council has made mistakes, but he also criticized former rebels who have formed powerful militias and local governments that have emerged as rivals to the Tripoli-based central government. “Both are to blame,” he said. “The governmental program to integrate the militias is slow and the revolutionaries don’t trust it.” Abdul-Jalil also said that Gadhafi loyalists have infiltrated revolutionary forces and even formed their own militia. “We call them the revolutionaries after the revolution.”
Abdul Jalil said the failure to seriously investigate Gadhafi-era war atrocities, as well as the absence of police and courts, has left the door open for individuals to take matters into their own hands. Even families who were not linked to the Gadhafi regime but fled during the war have been tagged as traitors and forced to leave their houses when they returned. “Misrata suffered the most, but it is also going too far in enmity and expulsions,” he said. “Dealing with victorious soldiers is much harder than dealing with the ones defeated.”
Libya is getting ready for national assembly elections in June. The new assembly will form a government and set up a panel to draft a constitution. However, the country has been plagued by revenge attacks by those who suffered at the hands of Gadhafi’s forces during the brutal civil war. At least 23 people from the Zwai tribe have been killed and another 53 wounded in the clashes, said sources from the Zwai.
Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.