The Guardian reports: The Libyan leader, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has vowed to use force to stop the country breaking up after leaders in an eastern region declared autonomy.
“We are not prepared to divide Libya,” he said, blaming infiltrators and pro-Gaddafi elements for backing the autonomy plan. “We are ready to deter them, even with force.”
His comments come amid mounting evidence that Libya is slowly splintering into a series of rival fiefdoms controlled by competing militias, who increasingly follow their own agendas rather than acting in the national interest.
In February, the city of Misrata, which suffered a brutal siege by pro-Muammar Gaddafi forces, forged ahead with its own municipal elections, while the militia in Zintan is still holding Gaddafi’s son Saif.
Misrata has established a security zone that prohibits many Libyans from entering. It held the first city council elections in Libya last month, without the involvement of the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC).
The sense of growing instability in Libya was compounded by a recent Amnesty International report that the hundreds of militias vying for power in the country were out of control and increasingly behaving like mafia organisations.