Libyan security aide quits, deepening void after Benghazi attack

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 20, 2012 9:54 AM
Libyan security aide quits, deepening void after Benghazi attack

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - The head of a committee tasked with finding posts for militia fighters in the police in eastern Libya said on Thursday he had quit, becoming the third senior security figure sidelined a week after a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate In Benghazi.

Fozi al-Gaddafi, who is not related to ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi, told Reuters he had resigned as eastern Libya head of the Security Committee in protest because recruits were not being adequately paid or supplied.

His deputy was acting in the post, he said.

Rows over top security posts have created a leadership vacuum in Benghazi at a time when U.S. officials are demanding Libya act against those who attacked the consulate on September 11, killing the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

A residential villa being used by the U.S. consulate was stormed after a violent street protest against a film made in America that insults the Prophet Mohammad.

The government in Tripoli announced this week that it was sacking the deputy interior minister for the east and the police chief of Benghazi, but both men have refused to step aside.

The man named to take on both jobs, Salah Doghman, told Reuters on Wednesday he asked the government to send troops if necessary to install him in his new job.

Libya's security institutions have been weak and armed militia have remained powerful since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown last year in a NATO-backed revolution.

Benghazi, 1,000 km (600 miles) from Tripoli across largely empty desert, is under the thumb of various armed groups, including some comprised of Islamist militants who openly proclaim their hostility to democratic government and the West.

Some of these have been identified by local people as being among those who were at the consulate protest last week. U.S. officials have described the violence as a "terrorist attack".

(Reporting by Peter Graff; Editing by Mark Heinrich)