Militias pull out of Libya’s capital, Tripoli

The Associated Press reports: Militias from a string of Libyan cities left the capital, Tripoli, on Thursday, nearly a week after militiamen killed more than 40 people protesting their presence in the city.

The withdrawal is a triumph for the residents of Tripoli, who on Nov. 15 held a mass protest against the militias, which have fueled lawlessness across Libya since the fall of longtime autocrat Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The heavily armed groups, some of them led by Islamist extremists, have defied control by the weak central government, carving out fiefdoms and acting as a law unto themselves.

Witnesses said the militiamen gave their bases to army troops in handover ceremonies before they headed out of Tripoli. They kept their weapons, mostly assault rifles, antiaircraft guns mounted on pickup trucks and rocket-propelled grenades. The militias that left come from four cities, including Zintan, to the south of Tripoli, and Misurata to the west.

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