21.06.12 Libya Focus
Latest clashes leave 105 dead
According to Libyan authorities, recent tribal clashes in western Libya have
left 105 people dead and around 500 seriously wounded. Government spokesman Nasser al-Manaa said there had been no fighting in the area since Monday 18 June, following the
deployment of the army.
The towns in the crossfire include Zintan, Mizdah and Shegayga, approximately
150km south of Tripoli. The most recent clashes are seen as a test for Libya's
government, which has struggled to assert its power.
The recent battles were mainly between fighters from Zintan, backed by
another tribe known as the Guntrara from Mizdah, and armed members of the
Mashashya tribe based in Shegayga.
According to experts, the conflict dates back to the Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi era when one tribe was given land expropriated from another. It is thought that
the latest spurt of fighting was sparked by the death of a man from
Zintan after he was stopped at a checkpoint, which Zintan militias have blamed
the Mashashya tribe.
Libya's ruling National Transitional Council (NTC), which took power last year, has been trying to maintain stability since
the civil war ended. The latest fighting comes just weeks ahead of elections
a national assembly.
Sources: Reuters, BBC News, WSJ
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