Libya Militias Protest
In Tripoli this April, gunmen in pick-up trucks surrounded Libya's justice ministry in April to step up demands for former aides to deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi to be barred from senior government posts. Reuters/Ismail Zitouny

Libyan gunmen stole $55 million from a van that was carrying local and foreign currency near the coastal city of Sirte on Monday, state news agency Lana said.

According to the report, the van was coming from the airport after the money was flown in from a branch in Tripoli when tem armed men stopped the vehicle and stole 53 million dinars ($43.49 million) and foreign currency worth $12 million.

"The robbing is a catastrophe not just for Sirte but the whole of Libya," Abdel-Fattah Mohammed, head of Sirte council, told Reuters. He said the local authority had asked several times for better security for such transports.

Libya has been struggling as gangs, armed militias and radical islamists attempt to assert control of various regions the country.