Fresh fighting in Libya kills 17
At least 17 people were killed Sunday in renewed clashes between former militiamen and tribal fighters in a south-eastern Libyan town, reported local media.
The fighting flared up when insurgents from the minority Tabu tribe attacked an office manned by the former militiamen in the town of Kufra, said the independent Libyan news agency Solidarity Press. Tanks were used in the dawn attack.
Fifteen tribal fighters and two from the former rebels, now part of the Libyan army, were killed, according to the report.
The clashes between the two sides had started late Friday amid conflicting reports about the cause.
A Tabu leader said the fighting had erupted after the former militiamen, known as the Libya Shield Battalion, had shelled the tribe's district.
But Ali Abdul-Rahim, a local security official, said an attack on a security checkpoint in the town triggered the violence.
Kufra, a town of about 40,000, was the scene of deadly ethnic fighting between the Arab Zwai and the African Tabu tribes in February.
The Tabu felt discriminated against under the 42-year rule of Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi.
Several areas in the North African country have seen clashes in recent months, as rebels - who fought and deposed the Gaddafi regime last year - have kept their weapons and often retained de facto local control.