Militias ordered to leave Benghazi

Sept. 24, 2012 at 2:20 PM
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BENGHAZI, Libya, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Libyan authorities say they have given militant groups two days to leave bases in Benghazi after protesters overran some of the compounds.

However, at least one group has begun arresting protesters, revealing a glaring split between authorities in Benghazi and the government in Tripoli, the British newspaper The Guardian reported.

Jihadist militants in Derna on Sunday withdrew from their base and announced they were disbanding. In Benghazi, military police assumed responsibility for security at Jalaa hospital after Ansar al-Sharia, which had guarded the facility, disbanded

There is confusion in Benghazi over who has the legal authority to make arrests. Members of the Rafallah al-Sahati brigade say they have began arresting demonstrators who stormed their base, accusing them of instigating revolt.

Police say they won't arrest the protesters and that they intend to arrest the Rafallah militants for shooting four unarmed protesters.

In Tripoli, the country's interior minister, Fawzi Abdelal, is believed to have issued arrest warrants for some of the protesters who took part in Friday's demonstrations.

At the same time, the Parliament has declared that all militia must disarm by midnight Monday.

A demonstration against the arrests of protesters was scheduled for Monday afternoon.

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