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Latest update : 2014-05-27

Libya, where militias reign

© FRANCE 24

Since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has fallen into anarchy. With the state struggling to rebuild itself, countless armed militias are calling the shots. Our reporter followed the Zintan militia, which controls part of the capital Tripoli, including its airport. This is his report.

The United Nations figure is chilling: there are nearly 40 million weapons in Libya, or 6 per inhabitant. They are mostly in the hands of militias, or "katibas". Our reporter Roméo Langlois went to meet the Zintan militia, who made off with a good part of Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenal after the fall of his regime in 2011. In its stronghold of Zintan, located around 170 km south-west of Tripoli, the militia is also holding Saif al-Islam, one of Muammar Gaddafi’s sons. In this city, it runs both the police and the justice system.

Weapons are everywhere in this country. They can be easily found in the souks of Tripoli. Many come from Turkey. They help enrich drug or oil traffickers, who are multiplying in Libya. Helpless, the government relies on the "katibas" to carry out certain operations, such as securing Tripoli’s international airport. The Zintan militiamen protect it from attacks by rival militias trying to control this strategic spot. Chaos is gradually gaining ground in Libya.

Watch our special debate "The Scramble for Libya: Who Will Fill the Post-Gaddafi Power Vacuum?"

By Romeo LANGLOIS

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