* New group wants to bring security to Tripoli
* Its role overlaps existing Islamist-led group
* Raises question of tensions between militias
By William Maclean
TRIPOLI, Oct 2 A Libyan revolutionary officer
announced the creation on Sunday of an armed group to keep order
in Tripoli, a mission analysts say may overlap uneasily with an
existing Military Council with the same job which is led by a
Announcing the Tripoli Revolutionists Council at a news
conference in the capital, Abdullah Ahmed Naker said his force
had 22,000 armed men at its disposal, drawn from what he said
were 73 factions which had agreed to pool resources.
The move may stir concern about tensions among the many
revolutionary militias who play a de facto security role in the
capital, where residents say they fear some groups may resort to
violence as they jockey for power.
Visiting U.S. Republican Senator John McCain called on the
country's interim rulers, the unelected National Transitional
Council (NTC), last week to move quickly to get the armed groups
Naker said his group was cooperating with the Tripoli
Military Council which is led by Abdulhakim Belhadj, a veteran
Islamist foe of Muammar Gaddafi.
He said it would protect citizens' security and property,
collect unlicensed weapons, support humanitarian relief work and
help create civil society institutions.
But Naker, wearing military fatigues and flanked by
tense-looking fighters cradling assault rifles, suggested
Belhadj's group, believed by diplomats to be supported by Qatar,
was not representative of Tripoli's population and not large
"We established the council because we saw that Tripoli
people are marginalised ... They have not been invited to
participate in any entity in the new government," he said.
Naker said his forces were already in control of 75 percent
of the capital. They could extend their area of operations but
did not want disputes with other factions.
He said his relations were normal with Belhadj but he did
not know much about his background.
"Who is he? Who appointed him?" he said.
Belhadj led an Islamist guerrilla uprising against Gaddafi
in the 1990s. He later spent time with Taliban and al Qaeda
leaders in Afghanistan but says he opposed al Qaeda's
transnational campaign of anti-Western violence.
Naker said Belhadj's military clout was "weak" as he had
only 2,000 men. He alleged the Military Council's forces had
staged night raids on private homes that had caused ill-feeling
among Tripoli residents.
Spokesmen for the Military Council and the NTC could not
immediately be reached for comment.
An analyst in Tripoli who did not want to be identified said
Naker's remarks suggested he was a supporter of interim Prime
Minister Mahmoud Jibril, a Western-trained technocrat widely
regarded as an opponent of Islamist forces in the country.
Supporters of Belhadj make little secret of their disdain
for Jibril, who they say is seeking to exclude them from a share
of power following Gaddafi's fall.
Naker said his council was working under the auspices of de
facto head of state Mustafa Abdel Jalil and was "cooperating"
with the Tripoli Military Council on bringing safety back to
It would be dissolved when state institutions were up and
running again, he said.
(Editing By Christian Lowe and Sophie Hares)