C. J. CHIVERS and CLIFFORD KRAUSS
November 14, 2011
ZAWIYAH, Libya — Two rival militias fought a sporadic but deadly gun battle just west of Tripoli over the weekend, blocking traffic on the vital coastal road between the Libyan capital and the Tunisian border. The outburst of violence was among the worst to come to light since the killing of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi last month.
Participants said that as many as 15 people were killed in the shooting along a short stretch of the highway between Tripoli and Zawiyah, a key coastal town to the west. Health officials put the death toll lower, saying perhaps as few as six were killed.
Lethal rivalries have emerged within the huge population of Libyan fighters who rose up against Colonel Qaddafi’s rule. The poorly trained and only moderately organized militias are often suspicious of one another and are sometimes openly hostile, posing difficult problems for the transitional council now trying to govern the country.
The uprising to overthrow the Qaddafi family held many of these disparate groups together. Now that the common enemy is vanquished, though, competition for turf, resources and power threatens to pull some of the groups into persistent conflict, as do allegations that some of the armed groups have suspect pasts.
This article was posted: Monday, November 14, 2011 at 3:51 am