Renewed clashes between Libyan militias, 26 dead

Zuwarah fighters load their ammunitions on April 4, 2012 on the front line after clashes the day before between Zuwarah fighters and neighbouring villages in western Libya (AFP Photo / Imed Lamloum)
At least 26 people have been killed as violence flares up once again in the western Libyan town of Zwara.

­This comes after tensions sparked over the weekend between the Arab-majority town of Ragdalein and the Berber-dominated town of Zwara, about 110 kilometers west of the capital Tripoli. 

The violence is fuelled by deep-rooted animosity between the neighbors, who took different sides in Libya's civil war that toppled Muammar Gaddafi last year.

The clashes had escalated by Tuesday, with militia groups opening tank and artillery fire on each other. At least 22 people died in the fighting.

The National Transitional Council (NTC), which took power after Gaddafi's capture and killing in October, has struggled to stamp its authority on the country and rein in the myriad armed groups that helped defeat the Colonel's forces but have refused to disarm.

These local rivalries threaten to divide Libya along tribal and regional lines.