Tribal clashes kill 14 in Libya's west: Government

AFP , Wednesday 13 Jun 2012

Clashes between rival tribes in western mountains that led to death of 14 people and dozens of injured, states Libyan government

A revolutionary fighter points at a green flag and a banner with the words "Long live Al Fatah", which they found in Regdalin town, 5 km (3 miles) from Zuwara's city center April 4, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Fighting between rival tribes in the mountains of western Libya has claimed 14 lives and left dozens wounded in the past two days, the government said on Wednesday.

"Fourteen people were killed and about 89 wounded in combat in the Nafusa mountains," Nasser al-Manaa, spokesman of the interim government, told journalists in Tripoli.

He gave no details on the cause of the clashes or the parties involved.

On Monday, the official LANA news agency reported that "armed exchanges in the town of Mizdah killed three people and wounded three others."

Manaa said the army had been deployed in the Nafusa mountains to separate the warring parties and that negotiations were underway with elders to bring an end to the bloodshed.

Several sources have said the clashes focused on the towns of Sheguiga and Mizdah, pitting fighters of the Mashashia tribe against gunmen from the Gontrar tribe and the town of Zintan, 170 kilometers (105 miles) from Tripoli.

They say the fighting erupted after a resident of Zintan was killed at a roadblock set up by Mashashia tribesmen who accuse Zintan forces of shelling their village with tank and rocket fire.

Tensions have been high between former rebels in Zintan and Mashashia tribesmen since a popular uprising toppled Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi last year.

Zintan fighters are credited with leading the units that captured Tripoli from Kadhafi's forces in August. They also detained the slain dictator's son, Seif al-Islam, on November 19 and have held him ever since.

The Mashashia are accused of backing Kadhafi's regime in the 2011 conflict.

Clashes between former rebels from Zintan against Mashashia tribesmen killed four people in December.

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