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31 killed in tribal clashes in southern Libya

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 12, 2014 at 2:58 p.m.

TRIPOLI — Three days of fighting between tribes in a restive city in southern Libya killed 31 people, the country's Health Ministry reported Sunday, as gunmen assassinated the country's deputy minister of electricity in a separate attack.

The fighting pitted the African-origin Tabu tribe against the Arab-origin Awlad Soliman tribe in the city of Sabha, some 400 miles south of Tripoli. The ministry said the fighting, which began Friday, also wounded 65 people.

A local leader said Saturday that the fighting was sparked by the killing of a guard of the city's military leader, a member of the Awlad Soliman tribe, in retaliation for 2012 killings of dozens of Tabu men.

Sabha, once a bastion of support for dictator Moammar Gadhafi, was one of the last cities to fall under rebel control in 2011. It is also the last major city in Libya's far south and lies on a key road leading to the border with Niger. The downfall of Gadhafi and his allied tribes in the area have seen the Tabu gained control over the borders.

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