Tripoli, 3 March 2013:
Fighting in Mizdah between members of the Mashashia and Qantrar tribes is reported today, Sunday, to have left . . .[restrict]a number of people dead and injured. Clashes involving heavy weaponry were reportedly still continuing this morning. A number of families have left to escape the fighting in the town which was reported last night to be without electricity or communications.
The army has sent forces to separate the two groups. In a statement today, the Ministry of Defense said it was trying to mediate but that both parties remained “intransigent”. It added that it wanted to avoid military intervention in order to prevent bloodshed and that other reconciliation groups had been sent to try and achieve peace.
The fighting started on Friday when one man was said to have been killed in the town, 160 kilometres south of Tripoli. “The situation there is bad”, Ahmed Al-Hasnawi, commander of the Libya Shield forces in Mizdah was quoted yesterday by a Libya news agency LANA reporter as saying.
Mizdah has is a history of clashes between the Mashashia and Qantrar which past mediation efforts have failed to end. In August, clashes resulted in several casualties including six deaths.
Last year also saw fighting between Mashashia and Zintanis.
Just over two months ago, Hasnawi attributed much of the unrest in the troubled town to drug traffickers taking advantage of the security vacuum there.