Fighting leaves Libya in turmoil

TRIPOLI - The Libyan government has insisted that it remains in control of the country despite a series of heavy attacks and clashes over the weekend.

The parliament building in the capital Tripoli was overrun by a militia group, and two people were killed.

Later a militia spokesman demanded that the assembly hand over power to a body drawing up a new constitution.

Libya's leaders have struggled to bring stability to the country since Muammar Gaddafi was removed from power in 2011.

The planned new constitution remains unwritten and the country has had three prime ministers since March.

Since the conclusion of Col Gaddafi's one-man rule, militias of ex-rebels have become de-facto powerbrokers in the vacuum of Libya's political chaos, correspondents say.

They have carved out fiefdoms and are exercising their military muscle to make demands on the state.

In a live televised statement, Justice Minister Asalah al-Marghani condemned the attacks, calling for an end to the violence and the need for a national dialogue.

He said that the government is still working.

Early on Monday there were reports of an attack on a military air base in Benghazi, which on Friday saw heavy fighting between the militias and Islamists.

Loyalists of retired Colonel Khalifa Haftar say his forces and militia allies planned Sunday's chaotic assault on the parliament to rid Libya of Islamist hardliners.

Correspondents say it is not clear how much backing Col Haftar's men have within Libya's nascent regular armed forces and the country's powerful brigades of former rebels.

Nor is it clear whether parliament is fully under government control after Sunday's attack.

Meanwhile National Forces Alliance party member Tawfik Breik described his country "as a volcano waiting to explode".

"There's no real parliament in here, in Libya. There's no real government," he said.

"There's militias everywhere."

Comments (3)

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ORIGINAL - 19 May 2014

Some countries, and our own opposition parties hailed the west for intervening in Libya and killing Qaddaffi. Has this now benefitted the Libyan people? All the military interventions of the west are designed to make countries poorer and less secure. Our local clowns know what happened in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq. They know the ongoing suffering brought about by western military intervention, but nevertheless go on worship the west as saviours. Has the west ever saved anyone, or they are just masters of this con game, where they come in promising to liberate citizens, loot and disappear?

machakachaka - 20 May 2014

Thanks Machakacha! Let those with ears here.

dungas - 25 May 2014

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