Lay down your arms or join the army, Libya’s militias have been told.
New army chief Colonel Salem Qineydi issued the ultimatum after deadly clashes between the Libya Shield militia and protesters in Benghazi left 31 dead.
Armed groups played a large role in the overthrow of former leader Muammar Gaddafi. The government still relies on them to maintain order. However, they are reluctant to lay down their weapons. They are also refusing to work in the army under officials who served under Gaddafi.
Violence erupted as protesters stormed the Libya Shield headquarters on June 8 in Benghazi. They were demanding that the militias come in line with Libya’s security forces or give up their weapons.
The bloodshed has highlighted public anger over freewheeling militias and the government’s failure to rein them in.