A Zuwarah fighter fires his weapon
A Zuwarah fighter fires his weapon. Fresh fighting erupted in western Libya on Wednesday, killing at least two people near the border with Tunisia, a hospital official said. © Imed Lamloum - AFP
A Zuwarah fighter fires his weapon
Imed Lamloum, AFP
Last updated: April 4, 2012

Clashes in west Libya kill two

Libyan authorities warned on Wednesday that insecurity could cause a delay of elections for a constituent assembly and demanded an immediate halt to violence in the west of the country.

"Lack of stability could affect the decision of holding elections on time," government spokesman Nasser al-Manaa told journalists in Tripoli.

He stressed that all government ministries were working towards holding the vote for constituent assembly as scheduled in June, but that continued violence could push the ruling National Transitional Council to push back the date.

The remarks came at the close of a third day of clashes near the border of Tunisia which he said has claimed 18 lives and left 250 people wounded.

The fighting pitted armed Berber groups from Zuwarah against gunmen from the neighbouring Arab towns of Regdalin and Jamil.

The two camps fought on opposite sides during the 2011 conflict that toppled the regime of slain leader Moamer Kadhafi.

Manaa urged Libyans not to resort to force to settle legitimate grievances and to leave matters of security and justice to the authorities.

"There are no winners -- everyone loses if clashes continue," he said.

Army chief Yussef Mangush said during the same news conference that the army was ready to impose a ceasefire with force if needed.

"The government demands an immediate ceasefire," he said.

The flare-up in the west of the country comes hot at the heels of violent tribal clashes in the southern cities of Kufra and Sabha.

The interim government has struggled to impose its authority with several militias holding onto their arms and refusing to follow commands.

"Freedom does not have to mean chaos and rights should not be claimed by picking up arms," Manaa stressed, urging all parties to act with restraint.

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