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Around 50 Die As Rival Militias Clash In Libya

Armed tribes clashed with each other using mortars, automatic rifles, snipers on rooftops and rockets.

Clashes between rival tribes have taken an ugly turn in southern Libya, despite authorities' intervention to stop fighting.

Hundreds of government soldiers have been sent to contain tribal clashes and restore calm, an official with the Interior Ministry announced earlier.

According to a health official, some 50 people have been killed and 160 wounded in three days after violence erupted between members of the local Sabha militias and the Tibu ethnic group in Sabha, an oasis city in southern Libya.

Fourteen people were killed on Tuesday and 30 people wounded for the Sabha side. Around 20 people were killed in fighting by Monday. On the Tibu side, 15 people were killed and 18 were wounded.

Ibrahim Misbah, a doctor at the main hospital said, "The hospital crew has been working round the clock since Monday night and the injured keep coming in.”

Clashes between rival militias
Fighting first broke out on Sunday between the rebel groups after a Sabha man was killed over a car dispute.

The militias opened fire at each other on the outskirts of the city. Fighting initially centered around the airport road but then moved into the town.

Armed tribes clashed with each other using mortars, automatic rifles, snipers on rooftops and rockets.

A fighter Oweidat al-Hifnawi said, "There are Tibu snipers all over the Sabha city centre and the number of the wounded keeps going up.”

Assertion of power
The clashes come as rival militias and tribal groups compete for power and resources after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi last year.

The ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) is struggling to assert its authority and restore stability, but is hampered by the lack of an effective national army.

Frustrated with the government’s inability to stop the violence, Abdel-Majid Seif al-Nasr, an NTC representative for Sabha announced his resignation Tuesday.

He told Libyan television, "I have not seen any reaction from the Council to what is happening now in Sabha. The air force has not been sent out, there was only a plane from the health ministry carrying medicine.

"The state is supposed to intervene in these cases ... but there is no state."