Libya announces new army chief after deadly gunfights

Libya announces new army chief after deadly gunfights
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The Libyan interim government has named a retired general as head of the armed forces.

It is hoped the appointment of Yousef al-Manqoush from Misrata will help to unify increasingly fractious militia groups.

Four fighters were killed on Tuesday in a gun battle between rival factions in the capital Tripoli. At a hospital where some of the victims were taken, a relative of one of them expressed his anger saying: “This happened after the revolution but not before. They said there would be a government and order. Twenty three fighters came to claim territory and kill young boys.”

Manqoush’s appointment by the National Transitional Council could pave the way toward forming a more structured military. That is the aim of the Deputy Interior Minister, Omar al-Khadrawy. He said: “If we want to quickly end such crises we rely on the rebels to come forward and start registering through the committees established by the Ministry of the Interior, to register there, or at the Defence Ministry, or at the Labour Ministry.”

The new military chief’s prospects could be helped by the fact that he comes from Misrata – a city that was besieged for months by Gaddafi’s forces, but it is not yet clear if militia commanders will accept him.

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