By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, 25 August 2013:
Clashes between Zawia and the Wershefana tribe ended yesterday as the Prime Minister sent in army units to separate the two sides and called on them to enter into dialogue. About 20 anti-aircraft cars were later seen heading to Zawia yesterday. The situation still remains tense, however, according to residents.
Residents in Zawia confirmed to the Libya Herald that shooting had stopped after continuing violence on Friday night. The clashes in Maya, near Zawia had been particularly violent, with heavy weaponry being used. “We could not sleep because of it,” one resident said.
In a statement issued yesterday by the Prime Minister’s office, Ali Zeidan said he deplored the unfortunate events and called for an end to the fighting and a dialogue between the sides. He also condemned the excessive use of weapons by people who had no authority to use them, being neither the army nor the police.
In his statement, Zeidan said he had been in a session until 3am yesterday morning with the President of Congres Nuri Abu Sahmain, the Minister of Defence, Abdullah Al-Thinni, and other security officials and were in constant contact with both sides. He said that he had ordered forces to the area. Zeidan called upon both sides to end the fighting.
Zeidan also called on all Libyans to hand in weapons and rid the country of illegal arms. They were a source of danger, with a succession of armed robberies. He said his call extended to brigades as well.
Meanwhile, an oil tanker driver who asked to remain anonymous, told the Libya Herald that drivers had been staging a sit-in at Zawia oil refinery during the last couple of days and had refused to work because of the security situation resulting from the clashes. However, another source at the refinery said today that the situation was under control following the arrival of Libyan military forces sent on the Prime Minister’s orders.
The Ministry of Defence is expected to make a statement on the situation tomorrow.
With additional reporting by Aimen Eljali and Seraj Essul