Tripoli, May 20 (IANS) A day after the parliament compound was attacked by a militant group, loyal to a retired general, the Libyan parliament speaker Monday ordered a pro-government militia to safeguard the capital city.
In a letter to “Libya’s Central Shield”, a militia group from Misrata, General National Congress President and parliament speaker Nouri Abu Sahmain requested the militia to confront “attempts to take over power” in Tripoli.
“You are assigned to be deployed in Tripoli and secure the entrances and exits of the city, as well as vital and government institutions,” Xinhua quoted Sahmain as saying in a letter.
Abu Bakar al-Enaira, a spokesperson for “Libya’s Central Shield”, confirmed that they had received orders to protect key roads and institutions.
The order came after days of bloody clashes in Benghazi and Tripoli, reflecting the interim government’s struggle to control the increasingly fragmented nation filled with contradicting loyalties.
On Sunday, militants reportedly supporting retired Major General Khalifa Haftar stormed the parliament compound and clashed with lawmakers, leaving two dead and more than 60 injured.
The militant group, allegedly from Zintan, later announced they had suspended the Libyan parliament.
The retired general announced Friday his intent to purge Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi, of “terrorists”, leading his self-proclaimed “national army” into clashes, which left at least 79 people dead and around 140 wounded, local media reported.