TRIPOLI - Libyan militias, operating alongside the Defense Ministry, have deployed their forces around a former stronghold of ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi, officials said on Wednesday, stoking fears of impending fighting.

The forces are surrounding parts of the town of Bani Walid, a week after the death of former Misrata rebel fighter Omran Shaban, which has raised tension between the rival towns that backed opposing sides in last year's war.

Shaban, who helped capture Gaddafi last year, was kidnapped by armed men in July close to Bani Walid while on his way back to Misrata after he had been on government business in western Libya to calm clashes there.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger