Last Updated: Wed Mar 14, 2012 23:43 pm (KSA) 20:43 pm (GMT)

Libya to take control of borders from militias

Several airports, ports and border crossings have remained under the control of former rebel forces who fought loyalists of slain leader Muammar Qaddafi. (Reuters)
Several airports, ports and border crossings have remained under the control of former rebel forces who fought loyalists of slain leader Muammar Qaddafi. (Reuters)

Libya’s government said Wednesday it is preparing to take over control of its border crossings and airports, including in Tripoli, from former rebels that fought to oust Muammar Qaddafi.

Government spokesman Nasser al-Manaa said the topic was discussed at a meeting on Tuesday between the government, the ruling National Transitional Council and militia leaders.

After the meeting, “the thwar (former rebels) agreed to provide the airports and border points” to the authorities, Manaa told a news conference in the Libyan capital.

“The government will today begin the process of taking control” of these facilities, including Tripoli airport and the port of Misrata, in an “important step to strengthen confidence in the state,” he said.

Several airports, ports and border crossings have remained under the control of former rebel forces who fought loyalists of Muammar Qaddafi for eight months until the veteran strongman’s ouster and death in October 2011.

On Feb. 21, the interior ministry issued them a two-week deadline to hand over to the authorities control of all of the North African country’s land, sea and air frontiers.

Tripoli International Airport has been run by a brigade from the city of Zintan, while the desert borders in the south are controlled by tribes and former insurgents.

A year ago, thousands of Libyans abandoned their workplaces to take up arms and fight to overthrow the Qaddafi regime.

Most of them have remained in organized armed brigades and have taken it upon themselves to ensure law and order in the absence of fully functional police and armed forces.

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