The chief of staff of Libya’s army has resigned after an outbreak of unrest in the second city, Benghazi, which claimed 31 lives. The fighting began after protesters converged on a base used by armed militia.
Libya's parliament, the General National Congress (GNC), approved the resignation of Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Youssef al-Mangous at an evening session on Sunday, the country's official news agency Lana said.
Mangous handed in his resignation after violence a day earlier in which 31 people died. The GNC had already been preparing a vote to suspend him, GNC member Abdullah al-Gmati told the AFP news agency.
"The chief of staff presented his resignation that was accepted by the congress," GNC member Abdullah al-Gmati said,
The violence on Saturday broke out when protesters stormed a base that belonged to the pro-government militia Shield of Libya, which is charged with helping to maintain security.
Witnesses said that some of the protesters - who said they wanted the city to be rid of the militia - had weapons and that they outnumbered the militia members inside the gates.
Few details emerged from official sources about the sequence of events in the fighting that ensued, killing 31 people and injuring about 100. Hospital officials said that most of the dead were protesters.
The fighting stopped when the base was taken by Libyan Special Forces.
Shield of Libya is mostly made up of former rebels who fought in the battle to topple late dictator Moammar Gadhaffi. The rebels became affiliated to the country's defense ministry after the civil conflict ended.
Mangous had faced allegations that he was defending and legitimizing armed groups. Benghazi, where the revolt against Gadhaffi began, has been the scene of numerous deadly confrontations in recent months.
rc/dr (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)