Africa

Libya's tribal clashes leave 105 dead

  • 20 June 2012
  • From the section Africa
Libyan anti-Gaddafi soldiers. File photo
Image caption Libya is still awash with arms following the conflict last year that toppled Muammar Gaddafi

Recent tribal clashes in western Libya left 105 people dead and some 500 injured, the government has said.

Government spokesman Nasser al-Manaa said there had been no fighting in the mountainous area since Monday, following the deployment of the army.

The area includes the towns of Zintan, Mizdah and Shegayga, some 150km (90 miles) south of the capital Tripoli.

The week-long clashes were seen as a test for Libya's new government, which has struggled to assert its authority.

The fighting was 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, the BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says.

Tensions date from the Gaddafi-era, when one tribe was given land expropriated from another, our correspondent says.

The latest clashes were triggered by the death of a man from Zintan after he was stopped at a checkpoint, which Zintan militias have blamed on the Mashashya tribe.

The ruling National Transitional Council (NTC), which took power last year, has been trying to maintain stability in a country awash with weapons left over from the conflict last year.

The violence comes just weeks before the country is due to hold elections for a national assembly, the first free poll in decades.