The Straits Times
Published on Oct 17, 2012

Libya revolutionaries: yesterday's heroes, today's headache


BENGHAZI, Libya (AFP) - The citizen soldiers who became heroes for toppling Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi last year are now being widely blamed for the country's woes, refusing to disarm and snubbing the new authorities.

Libya's new rulers have struggled to stamp their authority on brigades made up of ex-rebels, some of whom believe their legitimacy, forged on the front line, trumps that of the country's elected representatives.

For their part, the former rebels complain of neglect by the authorities, whom they accuse of doing too little to care for wounded veterans, and insist that there would be a security vacuum if they disarmed and went home.

"We risked our lives for God and the nation, so it is up to the new authorities to prove themselves worthy of the blood of our revolutionary martyrs and wounded," said veteran fighter Osama al-Daly.