Renewed militia clashes rock western Libya; 5 killed

CAIRO (AP): A new round of infighting between rogue militias in western Libya has killed at least five people, including a 10-year-old girl, health authorities said Monday, the latest bout of violence to rock the North African nation mired in decadelong chaos.

The fighting broke out on Sunday between rival militias in the western town of Zawiya, where armed groups — like in many other towns and cities in oil-rich Libya — are competing for influence.

Along with the five who were killed, at least 13 other civilians were wounded in the clashes that continued overnight, the Health Ministry’s emergency services said.

The fighting trapped dozens of families living in the area for hours, said Malek Merset, a spokesman for the emergency services. Local media reported that one militia fired at a member of its rivals, wounding a militiaman who was taken to hospital.

The violence was the latest between militias in western Libya. In August, clashes in the capital of Tripoli killed more than 30 people, one of the deadliest bouts of fighting in Libya in many months.

Libya was plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. The oil-rich county has for years been split between rival administrations, each backed by rogue militias and foreign governments.

Libya is now split between two rival administrations. One is that of the government of Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah in Tripoli who refused to step down after Libya failed to hold elections last year. A second administration is led Prime Minister Fathy Bashagha who operates from the eastern city of Benghazi after failed efforts to install his government in the capital.