Dozens killed in southeast Libya clashes -tribes

Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:29pm GMT
 

By Ali Shuaib

TRIPOLI Feb 16 (Reuters) - Dozens of people have been killed since last week in clashes between rival tribes over control of territory in the far southeast of Libya, the tribes said on Thursday.

Violence broke out late last week in the remote city of Al Kufra and has continued since, highlighting the challenge of policing the country's sparsely populated desert.

Libya's ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) has struggled to assert its authority across the whole of Libya as rival regional militias and tribal groups jostle for power and resources following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Local gunmen from the Zwai tribe have been clashing with fighters from the Tibu ethnic group led by Isa Abdel Majid, whom they accuse of attacking Al Kufra backed by mercenaries from Chad, according to a security official from the Zwai tribe.

"The situation is still complicated today. The Tibu attacked the city with mortars and there were snipers," Abdelbari Idriss, the security official from the Zwai tribe, told Reuters, adding that the Tibu had received reinforcements from other desert towns.

He said 15 people on his side had been killed and 45 injured. "Thirteen were buried yesterday, two today."

The Tibu, however, said they were the ones to come under attack.

Mohammed Laban, from the Tibu tribe and a representative of a citizen group in Al Kufra, said the death toll among the Tibu had reached 55, and more than 100 had been injured. He said the Tibu had asked the NTC for help.   Continued...

 
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