Libyan lawmaker blames govt for rise of militants

TRIPOLI – A Libyan lawmaker on Monday blamed the government for the emergence of a militant Islamist group in the eastern town of Derna.

"The government negligence has allowed illegitimate bodies to emerge," lawmaker Mansour al-Hasadi told Anadolu Agency.

On Saturday, a militant group calling itself "Islamic Youth Shura Council" staged a show of force in the city, with photos showing dozens of masked men in military uniform in pickup trucks, armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers, machineguns and anti-aircraft cannon.

In a statement, the group said that it will impose sharia (Islamic law) in the city.

Al-Hasadi called on the Libyan government to seriously tackle the issue of security in the country.

"We can't accept the emergency of illegitimate groups even if these groups intend to maintain security the city," he added.

Derna council chief Hossam al-Nuweisri, for his part, denied any contacts with the militant group.

The identity of the group members is not yet clear.

A Libyan activist, however, said that the militants belong to the radical Ansar al-Sharia movement.

Libyans have struggled to restore order to their country since the death of strongman Muammar Gaddafi two years ago.

The transitional government and its security forces, meanwhile, have struggled to contain the armed militias that helped overthrow Gaddafi but which held onto their weapons after the 2011 uprising.

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