Libya militias agree ceasefire after deadly clashes

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 28, 2012 11:24 AM
Libya militias agree ceasefire after deadly clashes

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Rival militias in the Libyan city of Sabha called a ceasefire on Wednesday after three days of clashes that killed nearly 50 people and highlighted the government's failure to restore law and order nationwide.

Ahmed Abdelqadir, a local council member in Sabha, said representatives from the Sabha and Tibu-dominated militias had held a meeting at which they had agreed to end the fighting. Trouble erupted on Sunday when the two groups fell out in a minor dispute over a car.

An Interior Ministry official said the army had sent 300 soldiers on Monday to help calm the situation. A further 300 troops were dispatched from Tripoli on Tuesday, he added.

Local doctor Ibrahim Misbah told Reuters there were no casualties on Wednesday.

The clashes highlighted the difficulties the government faces as it seeks to impose its authority across the country following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi last year.

Bereft of a genuine national army, the ruling Transitional National Council has struggled to persuade the many militias who fought Gaddafi to lay down their arms and join the armed forces and police.

Last month, dozens of people were killed in clashes between tribes in the far southeastern province of Al Kufra. Government forces eventually intervened to stop the fighting, in a rare example of the Tripoli government imposing its authority.

(Reporting by Taha Zargoun; Writing By Hadeel Al-Shalchi; Editing by Andrew Osborn)