Former President Amin Gemayel's private army surrendered to right-wing militia chief Samir Geagea, consolidating Geagea's control of Lebanon's Christian area, police reported Tuesday.
A police spokesman said Gemayel's 3,500 supporters "peacefully surrendered" their four barracks in the Christian-controlled area northeast of Beirut to Geagea's men late Monday.He said Geagea's Lebanese Forces militia allowed Gemayel to maintain about 30 bodyguards to protect his residence in east Beirut's Christian district of Sin el-Fil and the Gemayel family mansion in the mountain resort of Bikfaya.
The move followed a threat from Geagea to Gemayel's men to surender or face attack from the 6,000-strong Lebanese Forces militia, said the spokesman who cannot be named in line with police regulations.
A Lebanese Forces spokesman confirmed the report, calling it a "bloodless operation."
Gemayel's followers have "joined the Lebanese Forces. The Christian force is now unified under the Lebanese Forces command," said the spokesman, who refused to be named.
Syrian forces and allied leftist and Moslem militiamen ring the 1,000-square-kilometer Christian enclave which is defended by the Lebanese Forces and Christian units of the Lebanese army.
The army, numbering about 15,000 men, is commanded by Gen. Michel Aoun, Christian commander of Lebanese armed forces. Many of Aoun's men are loyal to Geagea.
About 18,000 Moslem troops of the Lebanese army are based outside the Christian area and have pledged allegiance to Moslem Prime Minister Selim Hoss.
The daily newspaper ad-Diyar, based in Christian east Beirut, said Geagea's militia now controls Gemayel's traditional powerbase in the Christian enclave's northern Metn Province.
The move, the paper said, "strips the former president of any political strength."
A Christian official close to Gemayel said the former president was planing to leave Lebanon "shortly for a long vacation abroad."
The official said Gemayel, his wife, Joyce, daughter Nicole and sons Pierre and Sami will "settle down either in France, England or Switzerland."