TRIPOLI, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Citizens in Libya, recovering from domestic unrest and violence, handed over weapons and ammunition to the government Saturday in Tripoli and Benghazi for the first time, a positive step in the country's reconstruction.
Carrying rifles and rockets, young and old people headed to the Martyrs' Square in central Tripoli and the Tahrir Square in the eastern city of Benghazi during the weapon collection from 8:00 a.m. (0600 GMT) to 8:00 p.m. (1800 GMT).
"I handed in the AK-47 today to make my country more peaceful," said a 23-year-old university student Muhammad Khalid.
Everyone who turned in weapons would get a gift provided by the government including digital cameras, computers etc, and the owner of the highest prize, a car, would be selected through a random lottery.
Libyan national army Brig. Gen. Hussain Khlifa told Xinhua, the collection had great importance to all Libyans, implying that they trusted the national army and the police to safeguard the national sovereignty and civil safety.
He said similar collection would be held in more Libyan cities.
Weapons scattered among the people have posted thorny security problems to the government, as kidnappings and robberies happen frequently in Libya.
The National Transitional Council of Libya had asked regional militia groups to disband and hand over weapons when the conflicts finished, but was rejected by many groups.
About a week ago, Libyan national congress leader Mohammed Magarief announced in Benghazi that all the militia groups should be led by the general staff of the national army and gradually incorporated into the army.