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In Libya, cease-fire ends tribal clashes

By Jomana Karadsheh, CNN
April 1, 2012 -- Updated 0415 GMT (1215 HKT)
Smoke rises from a road Sabha as fresh clashes between the Toubou tribe and Arab tribesmen from Sabah broke out.
Smoke rises from a road Sabha as fresh clashes between the Toubou tribe and Arab tribesmen from Sabah broke out.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • At least 147 people died in Sabha this week
  • The city is now "calm and stable," a government official said
  • The military took over the Sabha airport
  • Last month, fighting erupted in Kufra

Read this story in Arabic

(CNN) -- Bloody tribal warfare in a southwestern Libyan city this week ended on Saturday with a cease-fire, government authorities said.

The clashes broke out five days ago in Sabha. It left at least 147 dead and 395 people wounded and caused damage to the city's infrastructure.

"The city is calm and stable after the cease-fire agreement today," Prime Minister Abdelrahim al-Kib told reporters Saturday.

The government, concerned about another outbreak in fighting, warned people against inciting violence.

Libya has been beset by the flood of weapons on the country's streets and clashes between rival groups since the Moammar Gadhafi regime was toppled last year. The problem has drawn international attention.

Ian Martin, head of the U.N. mission in Libya, this week addressed the fighting in Sabha.

"It is critical that the government and all sides take steps to further de-escalate the situation and address the underlying causes of this recent fighting," Nasser al-Manaa, the Libyan transitional government spokesman, said Saturday.

As Libyan doctors tend to the wounded, military forces took over the airport and other key locations in Sabha.

"The military intervention in the area is not an act of war, but it is to restore order," Manaa said. "They have succeeded."

Nasser al-Manaa, the Libyan transitional government spokesman, told reporters Saturday said a delegation of experts helped all sides reach the understanding that forged peace.

"Their courageous work made this agreement happen today," he said. "Life is back to normal."

Tribal clashes raged in the southeastern town of Kufra last month, leaving about 100 people dead.

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