TRIPOLI, June 13 (Reuters) - Rival Libyan militias armed with heavy weapons
clashed for the third straight day on Wednesday in fighting that has killed
14 people, underscoring the country's volatility months after Muammar
The clashes southwest of the capital pitted fighters from the town of
Zintan, who played a big role in ousting Gaddafi, against members of the
El-Mashashia tribe, who chose not to join the rebellion, security officials
Resentment between the two groups spilled over into fighting in December
last year, when at least four people were killed, and erupted again this
week when a Zintan fighter was shot dead.
Zintan's militias blamed the El-Mashashia tribe and retaliated, leading to
the current flareup that started on Monday, several members of the tribe
Government spokesman Nasser El-Manee said 14 people had been killed in the
fighting and 89 injured. He said there was a national army force in area to
try to restore calm.
"Creating stability is the responsibility of all," El-Manee told a news
conference on Wednesday.
Gaddafi's repressive rule kept in check the deep-running animosities in
Libyan society, which often pitted villages, cities or tribes against their
When Gaddafi was forced from power and later killed last year, old feuds
re-surfaced. The flareups of violence, mostly in the southern Sahara and in
the mountainous west, have shown how little authority the interim government
has over a myriad of armed groups.
Libya's ruling National Transitional Council, and its Western backers, hope
the tribal violence will not jeopardise a July 7 election to choose a
Khaled Ahmed Albdelkarim, from Zintan, said two people from the Zintan side
had been killed on Tuesday. "The clashes are continuing today," he said by
Eleven people on the El-Mashashia side were killed on Tuesday, and one on
Wednesday, said Taher Salim, a member of the tribe.
Ali Mohammed Bilgazim, a member of the local council of Mizdah, which is
close to the fighting, said Grad rockets could be heard from the area.
Another bout of violence last week flared up in southern town of Al Kufra
near the borders with Chad and Sudan. El-Manee said 19 people were killed
there and 75 injured. (Additional reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian;
Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)
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Received on Thu Jun 14 2012 - 09:37:52 EDT