A blast that killed three people in Libya's second city Benghazi was caused by fishing explosives that detonated accidentally, not a car bomb as originally thought, a local government official said on Tuesday.
But rights activists said the incident was symptomatic of deteriorating security in a country whose government exerts scant authority beyond the capital Tripoli and which is largely split into fiefs of armed groups that were instrumental in the 2011 revolution that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
"The vehicle belonged to a fisherman, who was killed in the blast caused by the explosive materials he was carrying in his car," Tarik Bozribe, a Benghazi city councillor, told Reuters. Libyan fisherman often use explosives to snare their catch.
The car blew up on Monday near a hospital in the centre of the Mediterranean city in eastern Libya, killing three people including a child, and injuring another 14, a statement by the health ministry said.
"The root cause of the accident is the weakness of the state. There is no control, no army and no security," said activist Zeid Al-Ragas.
"These explosives are manufactured into bombs and thrown into the sea to catch many fish. A lot of people use it... The big question is: If fisherman can get these materials so easily, what sort of weapons can the militias obtain?"
In another example of Libya's disorder, the armed forces chief deployed troops to Benghazi's streets, and arranged for local militiamen to reinforce them, to keep the peace after the explosion but later had to recall a number of them over fears they would start fighting each other.
"We don't care about the background of the troops that will secure the city, or whether they are part of the regular armed forces or militia," said Bozribe.
"We want the citizens to feel safe, we want a force to stop suspicious vehicles and protect citizens."