Army sent to quell clashes in western Libya

By REUTERS
June 16, 2012 22:50

 
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TRIPOLI - Libya's government has sent troops to put an end to six days of clashes between rival militias in the west of the country, the latest spasm of instability eight months after Muammar Gaddafi's overthrow.

As it seeks to impose its authority on a fractious country, Libya's new leadership on Saturday called for an immediate ceasefire in the fighting south of the capital, in which at least 14 people have been killed and 89 injured.

The clashes have pitted fighters from the town of Zintan, who played a big role in ousting Gaddafi in last year's war, against members of the El-Mashashia tribe, who chose not to join the rebellion, security officials said.

Resentment between the two groups spilled over into fighting in December, 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 flare-up, which started on Monday, several members of the tribe said.

"The army is going there now to impose a ceasefire and protect civilians," the army's Colonel Hamed Zwei told Reuters.

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