Libya’s newly formed anti-militia forces have been deployed in the capital Tripoli to crack down on militants bent on destabilizing the city.
Known as the Special Deterrence Force, the group is tasked with halting activities of the Islamic State which has a stronghold in parts of the country.
With a brigade of more than 600 men, the troops will patrol the city and help stabilize the nation.
The special deterrence force is fighting this organisation (Islamic State) and you know this organisation seeks to create insecurity in all Libyan cities.
Speaking to Reuters, the spokesman of the Deterrence Forces Maud Khalil said, “The special deterrence forces are deployed 24 hours a day with regular patrols and are also stationed in heavily populated areas where they search suspicious vehicles.”
Islamic State’s stronghold in Libya is in the city of Sirte, though it also has some presence in other major cities including Benghazi. According to reports, the militant group has up to about 3000 fighters in the war torn country. But the US claims the numbers have doubled in the past 12 to 18 months.
“The special deterrence force is fighting this organisation (Islamic State) and you know this organisation seeks to create insecurity in all Libyan cities and is now seeking to take control of some areas close to Sirte, but thanks to the young men who care for the stability of their country, (Islamic State) has failed to take control of towns,” Khalil said.
“In recent weeks, (the forces) managed to dismantle more than 15 cells affiliated with the Islamic State in Tripoli,” he added.
Western governments say the best chance to curb the expansion of IS is by uniting armed factions against them.
For nearly two years, the country has had two administrations battling for supremacy in Tripoli and Tobruk.
Following months of talks last year, the rival factions agreed to a United Nations backed national unity government.
Last week leaders of the UN backed government arrived in the capital and have been operating from a naval base. Known as the Presidency Council, Western countries want the unity government to reconcile and unite Libya’s warring factions.
Since the ousting of long time ruler Muammar Gaddafi, the oil rich nation has suffered blows of attacks from Islamist militants battling for territory and recognition in the country.