11 dead as Libyans rebel against Benghazi militias
Libyan authorities on Saturday regained control of the headquarters and bases of armed militias in Benghazi after protesters had attacked them last night killing at least 11 people and leaving more than 70 wounded.world Updated: Sep 22, 2012 23:01 IST
Libyan authorities on Saturday regained control of the headquarters and bases of armed militias in Benghazi after protesters had attacked them last night killing at least 11 people and leaving more than 70 wounded.
Six members of the security forces were among those killed in the unrest that rocked Libya's second city, and were apparently "executed," a medical examiner at the Benghazi Medical Center morgue told AFP.
"From the nature of the wounds it is clear that the six were executed," she said on condition of anonymity, adding that all six had been shot in the head.
"In total we've received 11 fatalities" she said, including four bodies in "civilian clothes" and another that was found at the headquarters of Raf Allah al-Sahati, an Islamist militia targeted last night.
The violence erupted late today when hundreds of protesters, some of them armed, attacked bases of paramilitary groups whose militants were former rebels who helped topple Muammar Gaddafi's regime in last year's rebellion.
Critics said that the militias in the eastern city have put themselves above the law, particularly those groups who after the fall of the regime refused to be placed under the authority of the defence ministry.
The protesters first attacked a group based in a security building in central Benghazi before turning their wrath on the headquarters of Ansar al-Sharia, a radical Salafist militia and the main paramilitary group in the city.
To shouts of "The martyrs' blood was not shed in vain," the demonstrators pushed into the compound which was pillaged and torched, an AFP correspondent witnessed.
Regular armed forces retook control of those two bases on Saturday, the correspondent said.
Ansar al-Sharia has been accused of -- but denied --involvement in the murder this month of US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11.
The militiamen took flight as hundreds of protesters stormed and then set their compound ablaze, and also evicted them from the city's Al-Jalaa hospital where they were replaced by military police, an AFP correspondent reported.
Protesters also attacked the headquarters of the Raf Allah al-Sahati brigade, an Islamist group which is under the authority of the defence ministry, on Benghazi's outskirts.