BENGHAZI, Libya - About 5,000 rebels have joined Libya's nascent national army but more of the militias that have dominated the country since the revolution must sign up if the armed forces are to reassert their authority, the new chief of staff said.
The militias, which fought to unseat former leader Muammar Gaddafi, are now the biggest threat to the stability of Libya, clashing regularly with each other in violent turf wars and undermining the authority of the new rulers.
Libya's interim government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), wants to amalgamate the militias into the police force and army. NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil warned last month that if they did not comply, the country risks being dragged into a civil war.
Drawn from dozens of different towns and ideological camps, militias are reluctant to lay down arms they believe will help them secure their due share of political power in the new Libya.