Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Militias clash in southern Libya: about 50 killed
Three days of clashes between rival militias in southern Libya have so far killed nearly 50 people. The fighting between gunmen from Sabha and those from the Tibu ethnic group had reached the centre of the city, said Ibrahim Misbah, a doctor at the main hospital.
Fourteen people were killed on Tuesday and 30 wounded, Misbah said, giving numbers for the Sabha side. Around 20 people were killed by Monday, he said. Ali Galama, a Tibu representative on the NTC from Murzuq, south of Sabha, said 15 people were killed on the Tibu side and 18 were wounded. He was speaking from Benghazi, but said to be in touch with Tibu in the area by telephone. The fighting broke out on Sunday after a Sabha man was killed apparently in a dispute over a car.
An Interior Ministry official said the army had sent 300 soldiers stationed in southern Libya to help calm the situation on Monday. Another 300 soldiers left Tripoli on Tuesday, he added.
The clashes highlight the problems the government still faces in imposing its authority following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. Last month, dozens of people were killed in clashes between tribes in the far southeastern province of Al Kufra. Armed forces eventually intervened to stop the fighting, in a rare example of the Tripoli government imposing its authority.