The Libyan Government appears to be ‘making good’ on its endless string of promises to finally remove troublesome militias in the capital, as security forces continued with day four of “Operation Tripoli” on 19 March 2013. The operation is part of a concerted effort to dismantle illegitimate armed groups within the city, a top priority for authorities in post-revolutionary Libya who have grown weary over the apparent refusal of some armed groups to relinquish control of buildings in the capital. The plan, which was recently announced by Prime Minister Ali Zidan on 03 March 2013, but orchestrated by Minister of the Interior, Ashur Suleiman Shwayel, is already proving to be successful. Indeed, most Libyans appear to be supportive of the long-awaited measure, a sentiment shared by the hundreds or so number of residents who frequently demonstrate at Maydan ash Shuhada (Martyrs’ Square) in the capital to demand the dissolution of all militias.
So far a number of rogue militias have already ceded control of key buildings in Tripoli’s Gargaresh district, a neighbourhood which, despite being depicted as “Western-friendly”, is considered rife with drug gangs. In addition to raiding buildings in Gargaresh, security forces have also conducted operations near Bab al Azizia, the six-square-kilometre former military strong-hold of deceased dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Meanwhile, government forces also reportedly conducted operations inside local militia headquarters in the southern district of Ain Zara, as well as the eastern Beer Sta Milad neighbourhood near Tajoura, during the early morning hours of 19 March 2013. At time of publication, there have been no reports of injuries or deaths as a result of the ongoing operation. Nevertheless, this is expected to change in the coming days, as both the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the MoI have essentially been given carte blanche to expel armed groups from “more than 500 sites” in Tripoli, alone.
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