Libya Government: $8b To Reintegrate Fighters

Published January 9, 2012 8:00PM (EST)

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — A Libyan government committee will help integrate former revolutionary fighters back into civilian life using $8 billion dollars allocated to it to get started, the committee head said Monday.

Thousands of civilians took up arms against Moammar Gadhafi's regime when protests took a violent turn in February. Disarming the militias have been a key struggle for the new rulers, who took over in August, which has had to quell bloody clashes between rival militias.

The head of the Warriors Affairs Committee, Moustafa al-Sagizli, told reporters on that his organization would begin recruiting volunteers to take advantage of its integration programs.

"Countries around the world take care of their sons who fought wars for them and help to ease their transition from the fighting environment into society to build and develop the country," he said.

He said that each ministry will be offering close to $2 billion to fund volunteers to travel abroad for language and computer training, to give micro-credit loans to start small businesses or help to find jobs.

"The committee's first goal is to attract the armed fighters and rehabilitate them," he said. "We need to raise their awareness of how to transition from fighting and the revolution into the 'building the country' stage."

Al-Sagizli also said that money would be available to help young men get married to start families, or scholarships to return to school.

He said 200,000 fighters from all over Libya were expected to sign up for the committee's programs, including those fighting on the front lines and guarding oil fields and vital institutions.

He said many of those who complete training will eventually be employed by the government.

By Salon Staff

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