Sunday, June 9, 2013

Clashes between Libya protesters, militias leave 27 dead in Benghazi

TRIPOLI, Libya (NYDN) — Clashes between protesters and militias aligned with the military in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi left 27 people killed and dozens wounded, a health official said Sunday.

The violence broke out Saturday after protesters stormed a base belonging to Libya Shield, a grouping of militias with roots in the rebel groups that fought in the country's 2011 civil war who are tasked with maintaining security.

The protesters were demanding that militias leave their camp and submit to the full authority of Libya's security forces.

The death toll is likely to increase public backlash against militias, which have been accused of acting with impunity, abusing citizens and enforcing their own agendas. But while some Libyans see the continued presence of militias as an obstacle to restoring security in the North African state, others believe they are playing a positive role in maintaining law and order while efforts to rebuild a professional army and a police force are underway.