Libya NTC to offer fighters police jobs

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 04, 2011 10:43 AM
Libya NTC to offer fighters police jobs

By Mohammed Abbas

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's interim government, keen to reassure its anxious fighters and restore stability, announced plans on Sunday to draft thousands of the men who ousted Muammar Gaddafi into the police and find other jobs for the rest.

Though Tripoli has become noticeably calmer in recent days, with people returning to work, cars back on the roads and cafes and restaurants reopening, many armed men still roam the streets. Many more remain in brigades elsewhere in Libya.

National Transitional Council (NTC) officials unveiled plans to train 3,000 fighters as police and national security officers and to set up training schemes and scholarships for others.

The NTC, eager to encourage national reconciliation, said the scheme would also be open to those who fought for Gaddafi.

"They are coming from a hot environment," Faraje Sayeh, interim minister for capacity building, told Reuters. "Now we will calm them down and try and find ways to reintegrate them into civil society."

Sayeh said the NTC was also telling fighters to contain their expectations. "Due to six months of conflict, the potential of the government is limited. Try to bear with us."

Many young fighters say they joined the revolt against Gaddafi because they had no jobs and resented seeing Libya's oil wealth benefiting a small elite around the deposed leader.

Interim Interior Minister Ahmad Darat told Reuters the fighters would be needed for about a month longer as the NTC sought to extend its control over the entire country.

"They will give up their weapons. It's just a matter of time and organization," Darat said.

Aref al-Nayed, director of the NTC's "stabilization team," said the various armed groups would be brought into a unified, organized structure.

"These military formations we have were born out of necessity. None of these groups are intent on staying as armed forces independent of the national army or the police. And there is consensus on this," he told reporters.

Several brigades of fighters are trying to gain control over Gaddafi's last three main bastions of support -- Bani Walid, Sirte and Sabha -- by negotiations or by force if necessary.

(Writing by Barry Malone; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Alistair Lyon)