BENGHAZI, Libya, Sept 22 The two main Islamist
militias in Derna, a city in eastern Libya known as an Islamist
stronghold, withdrew from their five military bases and
announced they were disbanding, residents said on Saturday.
"Abu Slim had three camps and Ansar al-Sharia had two. So
it's five. Empty. All empty," Siraj Shennib, a 29-year-old
linguistics professor who has been part of protests against the
militia, said by telephone.
He said commanders from the two groups had addressed the
crowd in person and announced that they were disbanding.
Shennib said the militias' announcements were apparently
motivated by events in Benghazi, eastern Libya's biggest city,
where Ansar al-Sharia withdrew from all its bases in the city
late on Friday amid mass demonstrations in support of the
Those demonstrations turned violent early on Saturday when
the crowd turned against another group that had sworn support
for the government.
Libya's LANA news agency quoted Abu Slim commander Mohammed
Bilal as saying the group had announced it would hand over its
compound in Derna to the authorities in the presence of civil
It quoted Ansar al-Sharia Derna commander Hafed al-Birani as
saying in a statement to local radio that the militia had
disbanded and handed over its compound to its original owners.