Libya Army Chief Resigns After 31 Killed in Benghazi Fighting

Protesters Stormed Militia Base, Sparking Military Crackdown

by Jason Ditz, June 09, 2013

Libyan Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Youssef al-Mangoush has announced his resignation today after a brutal move by military forces and pro-government militias against protesters in Benghazi left at least 31 people dead.

The protesters marched against the headquarters of a pro-government militia called Libya Shield, demanding that the group stop its unilateral activities in Benghazi or submit itself to direct military control.

Libya Shield’s situation is not unique. Since the NATO-imposed regime change there have been militias across the country that operate as de facto police with a wink and a nod from local officials, often imposing their own agendas on top of whatever basic laws they may enforce.

The protesters briefly chased the Libya Shield off its base, but the group returned with other militias, and military units, attacking the protesters with live rounds and explosives, killing 31 and wounding scores of others before declaring the base “secured.”

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