Armed militias besiege Libyan city of Ghadames   2013-01-20 06:42:32            

TRIPOLI, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- An armed militia group has besieged the city of Ghadames, some 650 km southwestern of the Libyan capital Tripoli, after a previous altercation between one of its members and a local young man, a spokesman for the local council told Xinhua on Saturday.

Abdulhadi al-Bakai, of the Ghadames Local Council, said that the armed group, named "Battalion 17," has been preventing the citizens of Ghadames from entering or leaving the city since Saturday.

The militias have threatened the local council that if their wanted people were not handed over, they would continue with the siege.

Libya's Ministry of Defense and the General Staff have repudiated the legitimacy of the armed battalion, but no quick solution to the rift is currently in sight.

Libya, over a year after the end of a civil war that toppled ex- leader Muammar Gaddafi, still faces huge security challenges due to the wide spread of weapons at civilian's hands and a loose central control.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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