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Tribal tensions leave 8 dead, 15 wounded in southern Libya

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 27, 2012 -- Updated 1108 GMT (1908 HKT)
A YouTube video purported to be from Sabha, Libya, shows men shooting from behind a corner.
A YouTube video purported to be from Sabha, Libya, shows men shooting from behind a corner.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Deputy interior minister says the situation is very dangerous in Sabha
  • He says access to weapons leaves situation in Libya fragile
  • Fighters who helped liberate Tripoli now refuse to turn over airport to government

(CNN) -- Eight people were killed and 15 were wounded on Monday in the city of Sabha in southern Libya when clashes erupted between two tribes, Deputy Interior Minister Omar Al-Khadrawi told Libyan state-run TV.

He said the fighting began when a person from one tribe was killed and his tribesmen suspected the killer to be from the other tribe. Al-Khadrawi said the situation is very dangerous in Sabha.

"We are watching the situation closely. The chief of staff of the armed forces is working (on) sending a force from the army there to prevent the conflict from growing."

Social media videos surfaced showing heavily armed men shooting while heading down a street shouting "God is great."

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Al-Khadrawi told Libyan TV the situation in Libya is fragile and very dangerous.

"We came out of a very big crisis; weapons are widely spread in the country. Now all people in Libya have access to these weapons," he said.

The Libyan government has been unable to control Tripoli International Airport since August 2011, when fighters from the Libyan town of Zintan claimed it during the fall of Tripoli.

The fighters refused to hand over the airport to the government during a scheduled ceremony on Sunday. They have demanded jobs and positions in airport management, demands the government is refusing to meet, Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur said Monday on his Twitter account.

"The government pledged to provide jobs for the revolutionaries of the Zintan Brigade, but in positions the government decides after they hand over the airport unconditionally," Abushagur said.

For months,Tripoli residents have been complaining about revolutionary fighters from Zintan and Misrata who came in for the liberation of the capital and have not left.

Sunday's scheduled airport turnover was not the first failed attempt. In an interview in February, the interior minister said the airport would be handed over within two weeks.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.

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