Fresh fighting has again fared up in Zawyia following heavy clashes there yesterday in which tanks were deployed. The fighting initially stopped last night when both sides agreed a seven-hour truce. When it ended this morning, a tense calm continued for several hours but was then shattered when shooting restarted this afternoon.
As in so many previous instances in Zawia, the fighting involved the perennial local bitter rivals, the Ahneish and Khadrawi families. However, it is also said to be linked to this week’s killing of three Zawia men, allegedly by a Wirshefana gang,
The clashes started after the Khadrawis accused Ibrahim Ahneish, one of the leaders of his clan, of selling the three men to the Wirshefana, a local journalist told this newpaper.
Armed gunmen from the Saqr tribe, supporting the Khadrawis, then brought in armored vehicles and two tanks to attack locations belonging to Ahneish.
“It was a terrible day. Families were stuck in the areas of the clashes and many houses and cars have been damaged,” the reporter said. “Last night, families were given the chance for few hours to flee the fighting but some are still stuck there,” he added.
At present, there is no information about causalities.
The Ahneish are said to be supported by the town’s militant leader Abu Obeida Al-Zawi as well as its boycotting HoR member Ali Abu Zariba.
Both Preidency Council member Musa Koni and UN special envoy Martin Kobler have expressed their concern about the situation in Zawia. The latter said that political leaders needed to act now to bring about reconciliation in the town. Koni appealed to “reason and a bias for dialogue” to resolve the crisis.