Around 50 Africans living in northwestern Libya, mainly Chadians but also some Sudanese, have been killed in clashes with Libyans, Arab and Sudanese newspapers reported Tuesday.
"Around 50 people have been killed and dozens hurt in clashes" in the city of Zawiya, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of the capital Tripoli, the Saudi-owned Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat said.
"Most of the victims are Chadian while a certain number of Sudanese, probably around five people, were also killed," according to the London-based daily distributed in Cairo and other Arab capitals.
Sudan's Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail, quoted by Al-Hayat, said Libya's minister of African unity Ali al-Triki told him over the telephone "that the incidents did not target Sudanese nationals and that the Libyan authorities were searching for members of the African community accused of murder."
In Khartoum, the independent Akhbar al-Yom daily also said "50 people were killed and dozens hurt in clashes between Libyans on one hand and nationals of the Chadian and Sudanese communities on the other in Zawiya."
"These clashes started (last) Wednesday and were continuing," the daily reported.
In Tripoli on Monday, Libyan officials denied earlier Chadian reports that large numbers of Africans, mainly Chadians and Sudanese, had been driven from their homes by local people in the northwest.
A foreign ministry spokesman dismissed the trouble as a "dispute between Africans about a problem of morals and no Libyans were involved in any sort of way."
His denial followed a claim made in N'Djamena Monday by a Chadian official, who asked not to be named, that Libyan "locals have dumped Chadians in a camp near Zawiya, where it is impossible for Chadian diplomats to contact them."
About 500,000 Chadians live and work in Libya. President Idriss Deby visits Libya frequently, and has "excellent" relations with Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi – CAIRO (AFP)
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