Many of the rebel factions making up the National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters are backtracking on a pledge to give up their weapons, contributing to the still-lacking stability in Libya after the killing of Muammar Gadhafi and widespread pronouncements of victory.
The militias are one of the most urgent facing Libya’s new interim government as many of them are defiantly demanding their own local autonomy, still heavily armed from the eight month NATO-backed battle for regime change.
“Nobody wants to give up arms now, and many tribes and cities are accumulating arms ‘just in case,’ ” said Mahmoud Shammam, a spokesman for the NTC’s executive board.
Sporadic fighting between NTC fighters and remaining Gadhafi loyalists is ongoing, along with reports of vigilante revenge killings and the like. But some skirmishes are arising between rebel fighters themselves. A shootout in a hospital over a personal feud between fighters ended in one dead and five wounded over two days of battles.
A new, post-war interim government is in the midst of being formed, but continuing fighting and unrest, loose weapons caches, and a war-torn country are undermining the process.