88 dead in two weeks of clashes in south Libya: hospital

TRIPOLI (AFP) - Two weeks of ethnic clashes in Libya's main southern city Sebha have killed at least 88 people and wounded more than 130, the city's hospital director said on Saturday.

"Between the outbreak of the fighting on January 11 and Friday evening, the number of dead totalled 88," said Mr Abdallah Ouheida.

He said the full death toll was almost certainly higher as casualties had also been taken to other hospitals in the region.

He said there had been sporadic clashes on Saturday but no immediate new casualties.

The fighting erupted between members of the Toubou minority, a non-Arab ethnic group, and armed Arab tribesmen of the Awled Sleiman.

There has since been fighting between the Awled Sleiman and other Arab tribes that is reported to have involved supporters of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Kadhafi loyalists have taken advantage of the chaos to launch repeated attacks on the city's Tamenhant air base, municipal council chief Ayoub Al-Zarrouk said.

Libya's General National Congress declared a state of emergency in the south on January 18 at an extraordinary session convened to discuss the violence in Sebha.