First Published: 2012-06-17


Libya government declares volatile west a military zone


Authorities declare warring mountain towns in west of country a military zone, calls for immediate ceasefire.


Middle East Online

Tribal conflict confuses government

TRIPOLI - Libyan authorities on Saturday declared warring mountain towns in the west of the country a "military zone" and called for an immediate ceasefire.

"As a result of the violence in the areas of Mizdah, Sheguiga and Zintan which has killed innocent people, the interim government... orders all parties to immediately stop their fire," Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib's office said in a statement.

"To reinforce this, the government has ordered the army chief and the interior ministry to consider the area of clashes a military zone and to use force and all means necessary to stop any shooting against innocent civilians."

The statement was backed by the ruling National Transitional Council and Dar al-Fitna, which represents Libya's highest religious authority.

The interim government called for the opening of safe passages to allow for the evacuation of the wounded and the delivery of humanitarian aid, and it commissioned a fact-finding mission to investigate the roots of the conflict.

The fighting which erupted Monday has pitted fighters of the Mashashia tribe against gunmen from the Gontrar tribe and the town of Zintan, 170 kilometers (105 miles) from Tripoli, according to official state media and local sources.

Sources in Gheryan, a city near the fighting zones, said that dozens of families streamed in on Saturday seeking shelter from the fighting, while army spokesman Ali al-Sheikhi said the "clashes were ongoing."

Several health ministry officials said the number of casualties was rising although they could not give numbers.

On Wednesday, the interim government said the fighting had claimed 14 lives and left more than 89 wounded.

Several sources say the clashes erupted after a resident of Zintan was killed at a roadblock set up by Mashashia tribesmen.

The tribesmen, meanwhile, accuse Zintan forces of shelling their village, Sheguiga, with tank and rocket fire.

Tensions have been high between former rebels in Zintan and Mashashia tribesmen since the 2011 uprising that toppled Libyan leader Moamer Gathafi.

Zintan fighters are credited with having led the units which captured Tripoli from Gathafi's forces last August. They also detained the slain leader's son, Seif al-Islam, on November 19 and have held him since.

The Mashashia are accused of having backed Gathafi's regime in last year's conflict.

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


Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

Pro-Turkish forces loot Afrin

Iraqis flock to flea market for relics of bygone era

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Natural gas in eastern Mediterranean fuels increasing tensions

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting

36 jihadists killed in Egypt’s Sinai

Israel arrests French consulate worker for gun smuggling

Israel prepares to demolish Jerusalem attacker's home

Saudi crown prince says his country to seek nuclear bomb if Iran does

Arab women artists in diaspora focus on identity and loss

Tunisia’s Central Bank targets inflation but may hurt growth prospects

Libya’s health system reflects a larger humanitarian crisis

Israel blasts Gaza underground tunnel

Abu Dhabi awards France's Total stakes in oil concessions

Erdogan says Afrin city centre under ‘total’ control

Egypt tries to contain Sudan but challenges, suspicions remain

US defence secretary presses Oman on Iran weapons smuggling

Syrian regime retakes two towns from Ghouta rebels

Hamas shutters mobile firm after Gaza attack on PM

Israel punishes family members of West Bank attacker

Syria opposition says UN 'failed to prevent' Assad 'crimes'

UK tries to soothe Egyptian anger over mob attack death

Hundreds of thousands flee in dual Syria assaults

Turkish Cypriots vow to stand firm in gas dispute

Intensifying assaults in Syria spark dual evacuations

Tearful reunions, uncertain fates for Syrians fleeing Ghouta