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Libya selects military leader

Libyan Rebels celebrate as people tour the inside of Baba al Azizia, Moammar Gaddafi's main military compound on August 26, 2011 in Tripoli, Libya. The main compound has turned into a tourist attraction and a symbol of Gaddafi's ousted regime. Numbers of Libyans are gathering to celebrate his downfall and to tour the compound which up until August 23, 2011 has been hidden from public view until the recent surge into Tripoli by rebel forces. UPI/Tarek Faramawi
Libyan Rebels celebrate as people tour the inside of Baba al Azizia, Moammar Gaddafi's main military compound on August 26, 2011 in Tripoli, Libya. The main compound has turned into a tourist attraction and a symbol of Gaddafi's ousted regime. Numbers of Libyans are gathering to celebrate his downfall and to tour the compound which up until August 23, 2011 has been hidden from public view until the recent surge into Tripoli by rebel forces. UPI/Tarek Faramawi | License Photo

TRIPOLI, Libya, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Libya's National Transitional Council Thursday appointed a retired military officer to be armed forces chief of staff.

Youssef Mangoush, a special forces member who fought as a field commander against the Gadhafi regime's troops in February and was arrested in April, was chosen as the top military commander, CNN reported.

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CNN, citing scholars, said the appointment is seen as a compromise, as rival militias battle throughout Libya, particularly in the cities of Tripoli and Misurata. The government seeks to win the militia's loyalties while disarming them.

The factional fighting has slowed efforts to organize disparate groups into a national army, and the selection of Mangoush is seen by some observers in America as an attempt to inspire confidence in the central government. Mangoush has ties to Misurata and the interim government hopes that will help bring rival forces under a central command.

Four people died in Tripoli Tuesday in clashes between militias, and residents are growing frustrated with streets of armed men who do not answer to a central authority, CNN said. The interim government has pledged to incorporate the fighters into a national security force.

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