The new central government urged the army to impose its authority by putting its own officers at the head of armed brigades that sprang up during the 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s rule, AFP reports.
The announcement was made by Mohammed al-Megarief, the head of the Libyan national assembly, late on Saturday during a press conference.
The authorities also decided to put in place an “operations room” in Benghazi bringing together the army, forces of the interior ministry and defence ministry brigades comprising former rebels.
This move came after a mass protest on Friday against militias in Benghazi that lasted into early Saturday in which thousands stormed the headquarters of Ansar al-Shariah.
The violent takeover of the Benghazi stronghold of Ansar al-Sharia militia by local residents on Friday claimed at least 11 lives and left some 70 wounded, accoridng to Reuters. Following the events in Benghazi Abu Slim and Ansar al-sharia militias in the city of Derna announced that they will withdraw form their bases.
Ansar al-Sharia group has been linked to the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last week in which the US ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans died amid demonstrations against an anti-Islamic film. The group denies any involvement in the killing of the US officials.
Libyan authorities have been struggling to assert authority over the militias and other armed groups that brought about Gaddafi’s fall in the 2011 revolt. The widespread proliferation of weapons became one the biggest threats to security in the whole region.