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Scores of Libyans killed in tribal clashes

JALO | Scores of civilians have been killed in the past 24 hours in tribal warfare in southern Libya, witnesses said on Tuesday.

Moussa Bazama, an ambulance worker taking injured to the coast, said 50 people had been killed by the rockets, mortars and gunfire rocking residential areas in the desert town of Kufra. Hundreds of families are fleeing toward northern cities.

Phone and other communications to the remote region, hundreds of miles from Libya’s main population centers on the coast, are sporadic.

For more than a week, the powerful Arab tribe of al-Zwia has clashed with the African Tabu tribe near Kufra, a border area where Libya, Chad and Sudan meet. The region is a hub for the smuggling of African migrants, goods and drugs.

The two groups are old rivals. The Tabu had long complained of discrimination under former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Since Feb. 11, the fight has descended into an all-out confrontation with other smaller Arab tribes joining al-Zwia against the Tabu, residents of the area say.


Far-right candidate suffers legal defeat

PARIS | French far-right leader Marine Le Pen lost a legal battle Tuesday in her bid to run for president, with the Constitutional Court ruling that her backers’ names must be made public.

The decision upholds current electoral law and puts added pressure on Ms. Le Pen and her anti-immigrant party two months ahead of presidential elections.

It’s an indirect victory for conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is trying to sap Ms. Le Pen’s support with nationalist rhetoric in his struggle for a second term.

Current rules say that anyone wishing to run for president must submit signatures of 500 mayors or local officials supporting the candidacy. The signatures are then made public.

Ms. Le Pen enjoys solid support in opinion polls but says she has had a hard time obtaining signatures of the public officials. Her National Front party says mayors worry that their own careers could be hurt if they support the Front’s candidates because of its extreme views, and argues the rule is unconstitutional.

From wire dispatches and staff reports