Jadu, 14 June:
Clashes between Zintani forces and members of the Mashasha tribe continued today around the town of Shagiga in the Nafusa Mountains. During the fighting, the Zintanis claimed to have captured the former Qaddafi commander of nearby Gharian, Mabrouk Sahban. They also said they had caught a former deputy of Khamis Qaddafi as well as two Tawarghans fighting with the Mashasha.
Fighting between the two groups started on Monday after the Mashasha killed a Zintani brigadesman at a checkpoint they had erected on the road to Sebha. During clashes on Tuesday, which drew in forces from other neighbouring towns, 16 people were killed.
Despite Zintani claims today to have moved into the town of Shagiga, home to many members of the Mashasha, local residents said that it has not been captured. However, they reported that 40 houses had been destroyed in the town by rocket fire.
Libya Herald correspondents at a conference in nearby Jadu clearly overheard heavy gunfire during the afternoon.
Sahban, who commanded Qaddafi’s forces in the Nafusa Mountains during last year’s revolution, had a reputation for brutality. After the liberation of Gharian, a few days before that of Tripoli last August, he completely vanished. It is now being said that he was being given protection in Bani Walid, which has been seen as a hub of counter-revolutionary sentiment since January.
The situation in the area threatens to be further exacerbated by the death of a brigade commander from Jadu this afternoon. Al-Sifao Omar Hablee had earlier been shot on Tripoli’s airport road. It is claimed that he had been stopped by members of Zintan’s Mohammed Madani Brigade who tried to seize his vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser, and that they shot him when he refused to hand it over. He was taken to hospital where he died of his wounds.
Following his death, representatives from Jadu went to Zintan, and demanded that his killers be handed over. It has been reported that some Jadu citizens are preparing for a possible clash with Zintan.