World Bulletin / News Desk
Hundreds of Libyans handed in weapons left over from last year's war on Saturday, part of a drive by the North African country to rid its streets of arms and crack down on rogue militia groups.
As the day went on, a trickle of people turned into longer lines in Tripoli and in the eastern city of Benghazi, where tents were set up in squares for military officials to collect arms, explosives and even rocket propelled grenade launchers.
Amid a celebratory atmosphere, women and children looked on as men queued to turn over their weapons as they listened to a military marching band and pop music.
"We want our country to be safe and secure ... We don't want to see weapons anymore," Tripoli resident Mohammed Salama said, as he stood in line to hand over a rifle.
"We want to live our lives. The time of war is over."
Libya's new rulers have struggled to impose their authority on a country awash with weapons, and many Libyans are fed up with militias, formed during the war but which still patrol the streets and often take the law into their own hands.
Saad Bakar, head of a small brigade in Benghazi, handed over rifles and ammunition on Saturday, saying he was ready to disband his group.
"We were waiting until today to make sure that the weapons go to the right place," he said. "We want to join the army as individuals."
In Benghazi, an organiser said more than 800 people had been registered as having come to the collection point. In Tripoli, an army official did not give an exact figure but said the number had superseded expectations of around 200 people.
One participant said he had even heard that a tank had been handed over.
Those numbers suggest a fraction of the arms that spilled out of Muammar Gaddafi's arsenals have been handed over but the initiative is seen as a step forward in a country where many still keep their weapons citing a precarious security situation.
"I want to live in a peaceful place where only the police and army have arms," Benghazi businessman Ibrahim Ali said after handing over a machine gun.
But he said he would still keep hold of his rifle for now. "When I can call the police and they are able to arrive quickly, then I can give them that weapon," he said.
The collection drive is a collaboration between the army and a private television station which drummed up support through live broadcasts from Tripoli and Benghazi.
Organisers in both cities, who said the event would be repeated in other cities, planned to raffle off prizes, including cars at the end of the day-long collection.
"Libyan people need stability ... They are handing over weapons to the military so that they are kept in the right place and not on the streets," said Yussef al-Mangoush, the army's chief-of-staff. "This is the beginning, we began this in Tripoli and Benghazi. We will go to other cities."
Mohammed Arusi, a 58 year old engineer who was queuing to hand over a rifle in Tripoli, said he was satisfied the security situation was changing for the better.
"It's not like before, the army is getting stronger," he said. "You cannot buy safety, you have to feel safe. And I feel safe right now."
The Caspian Sea states have agreed on six points of the draft convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea after two days of talks in Baku.
A senior leader has appealed to the Supreme Court to scrap the death penalty.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday expressed concern that Iran may eventually develop the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons.
The deal, brokered by the world body and already signed by the southern Bamako government, aims to put a stop to decades of Tuareg uprisings.
Police officer says seven people died and 23 others were injured in multiple explosions in Baghdad
According to Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported, a Palestinian tried to stab a group of Jewish settlers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Tension has mounted in the occupied West Bank since the abduction
President refused U.N.-brokered talks with their powerful movement unless they withdrew from Sanaa.
The attacks were in Syria and Iraq, attacking fighting positions.
The ECB will purchase sovereign debt until at least September 2016.
Turkey's defense chief says Turkey, already training Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces and Syrian opposition forces, offers the same help to Iraqi military
Woman was five months pregnant tests confirmed presence of H1N1 virus
Egypt's Sisi changed interior minister with local media reporting that Magdi Abdel-Ghaffer is the new replacement.
Strengthening army would ease conflict in East Ukraine
Experimental shots from Merck-Newlink and GSK to be tested, with Guinea trial to take use "ring vaccination" stategy.
A missile fired by Syrian regime jet has allegedly targeted a school in Syria's Idlib province. Killed 18 civilians, including seven students
A Palestinian security source said the three policemen had been pursuing a "wanted" Palestinian man who had fled through the Israeli checkpoint