UPDATE 1-Militia clash in west Libya kills 14 people

Tue Apr 3, 2012 4:00pm GMT

* Government says sending force to intervene

* Third day of fighting between neighbours near western town

* Violence a test for the fragile government

* Ethnic and tribal conflicts rocking Libyan stability (Updates with death toll, interior minister)

By Taha Zargoun

TRIPOLI, April 3 (Reuters) - A flare-up of fighting between rival militias in the west of Libya has killed 14 people, the country's interim leadership said on Tuesday, and officials announced the despatch of a force to restore order.

The clashes, between members of the Berber ethnic minority and their Arab neighbours around the town of Zuwara, are a fresh test for the government which has struggled to assert its authority since a revolt last year ended Muammar Gaddafi's rule.

Militias from inside the predominantly Berber town, about 120 km (75 miles) west of the Libyan capital, were exchanging mortars and large-calibre fire with fighters from the nearby Arab settlements of Al-Jumail and Regdalin for a third day.

The fighting around Zuwara, on the Mediterranean coast, is typical of the kind of tribal and ethnic conflicts that have flared up since Gaddafi's fall.   Continued...

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