Last updated: 24 September, 2012

Libyan army takes over two Benghazi brigades

A Libyan military official said on Monday that the commanders of the two largest militia brigades in the eastern city of Benghazi have now been replaced by army officers.

“Army chief Yussef al-Mangush issued an order appointing Colonel Amrajaa al-Msheiti as commander of the February 17 Brigade, replacing Fawzi Bukatef,” said the senior army officer on condition of anonymity.

“He also issued an order naming Colonel Salah al-Din bin Omran as head of the Raf Allah al-Sahati brigade, replacing Sheikh Mohammed al-Garabi,” the same source added.

Fawzi Bukatef himself confirmed the decision, saying: “Msheiti is in office now.”

A source in Raf Allah al-Sahati, a brigade nominally under the defence ministry but saw its Benghazi base stormed and looted on Friday following anti-militia protests, also confirmed the change of leadership in his group.

The appointments come two days after national assembly chief Mohammed al-Megaryef, Libya’s highest political authority, ordered the army to place its own officers to head brigades born out of the 2011 revolt that toppled Moamer Kadhafi.