British troops who captured Iraq's second largest city, Basra, have asked a local sheikh to form a civilian administration for the area.
British military officers did not name the sheikh but said he is a "worthwhile and credible" figure. He has been asked to put together an interim committee from the local community that is representative of that community.
Basra residents have complained about a lack of water and a breakdown in law and order.
British forces are being criticized for failing to prevent a looting spree by residents when troops finally captured the southern city Monday after a two-week siege.
An army spokesman says British troops did not intervene because their primairy mission was combat. But he says soldiers will be shifting to law and order work.
Residents of Basra ransacked government and Baath Party buildings, hotels, the university, shops and other places, carting off everything that could be carried.
Coalition commanders say the looting was a predictable result of the temporary vacuum of control after the collapse of decades of tight rule by the Baath Party. Reporters in Basra say residents have been destroying symbols of Saddam's rule and ripping down his pictures.