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Libya troops 'uphold ceasefire' in west

By AFP

TRIPOLI (AFP) - Libyan troops managed to uphold a ceasefire between rival groups in the west of the country after three days of deadly clashes, residents told AFP on Thursday.

"The fighting has stopped and the army is implementing a ceasefire," said Doctor Shukri al-Arabi, who runs the sole clinic of Zuwarah, 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Tripoli.

The clashes near the Tunisian border claimed 18 lives and left 250 people wounded, the interim authorities said Wednesday.

Fighting pitted 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.

Army chief Yussef Mangush warned on Wednesday that his men were ready to use force if needed to bring back stability.

"Today the situation is very quiet and everything is okay," said a resident, noting that the army's presence was helping to keep the two camps in check.

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

Such conflicts typically have roots in past grievances which have gained a new dimension in the absence of a strong state and easy access to arms.

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