Ten killed as Libyan militia shell Gaddafi stronghold
Tensions between the new Libyan authorities and Gaddafi loyalists keep rising as at least 10 people have been killed and dozens wounded after militias shelled the former Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid.
People from both sides were killed in the violence as militias operating alongside the defense ministry faced counter attacks on Wednesday, Reuters reports citing a resident and medical source.
“Bani Walid has been shelled since this morning from three sides – the south, the east and southeast,” Colonel Salem al-Wa’er, a spokesman for Bani Walid’s fighters, told the news agency by phone.
At least six people were killed in Bani Walid and dozens more injured, a local resident said, adding that the fighting ended in the evening.
A medical source in the neighboring town of Misrata told Reuters that three fighters from Misrata and one from the town of Zlitan, were killed and a further 23 people injured as violence erupted in Bani Walid.
The town of Bani Walid, which remains loyal to ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi, has become a significant problem for the new Libyan government, which is still struggling to bring the whole of the country under its full control.
Earlier Human rights group Amnesty International, asked authorities to avoid unnecessary force in Bani Walid, and to allow medical and other vital supplies into the city as residents have been left without food and other much needed aid.
The tensions began to rise after Libya’s General National Congress gave the Ministries of Interior and Defense permission to use force to arrest those suspected of killing Omran Shaaban – the man who is credited for capturing the country’s ex-leader, Muammar Gaddafi, last year.