Libyan gov't forms new force to secure Sirte

2017-03-26 03:20:13 GMT2017-03-26 11:20:13(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

TRIPOLI, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Libya's UN-backed government of national accord formed a security force of 3,000 fighters on Friday to secure the city of Sirte, according to an official statement.

"In accordance with this decision, a force will be formed under the ministry of defense to preserve the security and stability in Sirte and its outskirts" against any acts of terrorism, it said.

Sirte, located nearly 450 km east the capital Tripoli, was controlled by Islamic State (IS) affiliates for over a year before the unity government's forces took it over in December following a seven-month fight that killed and injured hundreds of government forces.

The new security force will "work to enable the state's military and security institutions, mainly police and regular military units, in Sirte to start working," the statement said.

Government forces announced on March 15 that IS affiliates continued to exist in some parts of Sirte, and decided to impose a curfew in the entire city and its outskirts.

Libya is controlled by many armed groups with shifting loyalties amid political division and unrest.