The latest round of fighting inside Libya, this time in the far west, continued to escalate today, with local officials saying at least 22 people had been killed in the clashes between the towns of Zwara and Ragdalein.
The fighting kicked off yesterday when forces from Ragdalein captured 34 members of the Zwara militia, accusing the Berber-dominated town’s forces of looting homes on the outskirts of town. Zwara responded by kidnapping 3 families of civilians from Ragdalein.
Today, the fighting is less about captives and more about shelling, as tanks and artillery from the two towns, just 10 km from each other, fire back and forth. The National Transitional Council (NTC) attempted to deploy police yesterday to secure a ceasefire.
This went poorly. The NTC Interior Ministry reports that the police were “overpowered” and that they are now sending diplomats to try to convince the two towns to knock it off. This is just the latest in a long line of local rivalries exploding into full scale violence, and increasingly the NTC is incapable of securing the peace.