By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 23 September:
A renegade army division situated on Tripoli’s airport road has been driven from its base by the National Army, one day after a 48-hour ultimatum was delivered to all militias not under the authority of the state to evacuate strategic property in the capital.
The National Mobile Forces, a part of the Army, raided and evicted the Secondary Technical Barracks early this morning.
The Army reported that it had ”arrested all the members of the group as well as confiscated all the weapons found within this location, which belongs exclusively to the Ministry of Defence”.
The barracks had been occupied by the 143rd infantry Division which, “had not been taking orders from the National Army”.
The Army claimed to have “dealt with the groups present within the Secondary Technical base with a high degree of accuracy during the raid”, and claimed that there were no casualties.
Several individuals spoken to by the Libya Herald said they heard heavy gunfire from the area this morning, but that it only lasted for a matter of seconds.
Over the past week, the Mobile Forces have been conducting a low-key campaign to clear the western Tripoli district of Serraj of renegade militias, and the operation now appears to be moving further afield.
No casualties have yet been reported as a result of these prior operations.
Last night, National Congress President Mohammed Magarief issued a statement from Benghazi saying that all unauthorised militias were to be disbanded.
“We are disbanding all armed groups that do not fall under the
authority of the government,” Magarief said.
“We are also banning the use of violence and carrying of weapons in public
places. It is also illegal to set up checkpoints.”
In Benghazi, an agreement has been reached with the leaders of several leading militias to bring all brigades under full Army control, with regular army officers being put in charge, whilst several others are to be disbanded.
Both the Ansar Al-Sharia brigade and the Abu Salim brigade have also reportedly agreed to disband in Derna.
Outside of these places, however, the policy appears still to be in the planning phase and there are questions to be asked as to how quickly the government will be able implement the plan in regions of the country where the state’s control remains comparatively weak.