Tribal clashes in southern Libya kill 7

TRIPOLI Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:10am IST

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TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Clashes between rival militias in southern Libya killed seven people on Monday, a Sebha local council member said, highlighting the challenge the government faces in imposing its authority months after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

Ahmed Abdelkadir said clashes first broke out on Sunday between former rebel fighters from Sebha, Libya's fourth largest city, and gunmen from the Tibu tribe after a Sebha man was killed in a dispute over a car.

He said the militias opened fire at each other on the outskirts of Sebha. Seven were also wounded in the violence.

The clashes come as the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) struggles to assert its authority across Libya, where rival militias and tribal groups are jostling for power and resources following the fall of Gaddafi.

The NTC is hampered by the lack of a coherent national army and has struggled to persuade the myriad militias who fought Gaddafi to put down their guns and join the armed forces and police.

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

Members of the Tibu ethnic group, who were also involved in the fighting Kufra, are mainly found in Chad but also inhabit parts of southern Libya.

(Editing by Lin Noueihed)

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