Libya deploys troops to quell clashes between rival groups

Libyan rebel fighters (AFP Photo / Gianluigi Guersia)
Libyan authorities have sent troops to the west of the country to quell clashes between rival militias as divisions continue to rock post-Gaddafi Libya. The area has been declared a “military zone.”

Sixteen people have been killed after six days of clashes between revolutionary fighters and forces loyal to the former regime in the area, which includes the towns of Zintan, Mizdah and Shegayga, south of the capital, Tripoli.

The NTC has called for an end to violence, which is the latest of numerous challenges the new government has faced since last year’s uprising.

The fighting involves militiamen from Zintan, who played an important role in Gaddafi’s ouster, and a rival tribe called El-Mashisha which backed the former ruler.

"The army is going there now to impose a ceasefire and protect civilians," the army's Colonel Hamed Zwei told Reuters.

At least four people were killed in clashes in December. The fighting resumed again this week after Zintan militias attacked the El-Mashashia tribe accusing them of killing a Zintan fighter.