At least four people died and 40 were wounded when armed demonstrators protesting against militias clashed with a government unit of ex-rebels, according to figures given by hospitals.

“Three people are dead. We have also received 20 wounded,” a doctor at the al-Hawari hospital said, requesting anonymity.

Later doctor Hamdi al-Rajoub of the al-Jala hospital said three wounded persons had been admitted, while a source at Benghazi Medical Centre spoke of one dead and 17 wounded.

Hundreds of demonstrators including several armed men attacked the headquarters of the Raf Allah al-Sahati Brigade, located at a farm in the Hawari region 15 kilometres from the centre of Benghazi. The brigade is an Islamist group of former rebels now under the authority of the Defence Ministry.

The two sides clashed using light weapons and rockets for two hours before the brigade decided to move out of their base. The assailants then attacked the military installation, taking arms, ammunition and computer material.

Earlier, hundreds of Libyan protesters stormed the base of a hardline Islamist militia in Libya’s second city Benghazi, forcing the group to flee and then setting fire to the military compound.

Members of the Salafist jihadi group Ansar al-Sharia fired in the air before being forced out of their base by the demonstrators.

The assault came after an estimated 30,000 residents of Libya’s second city rallied earlier in the day against the influence of militias in the eastern city, which critics say have put themselves above the law.

(This article was published on September 22, 2012)
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