Libya's defence minister says Bani Walid is under control
Libyan Defense Minister Osama Juili said Wednesday that the Bani Walid, the former stronghold of Libya's slain leader Moamer Gaddafi, was under government control following deadly clashes that killed four people earlier this week, dpa reported.
Juili, who toured the town, denied reports which indicated that followers of Gaddafi seized control of the town on Monday.
"The problem that started has been resolved," he added, referring to clashes onin which four people were killed and more than 20 others were wounded.
"It was an internal problem between two groups of young men and it did not engage any of Gaddafi's loyalists," the minister said.
On Monday reports coming out of Bani Walid said supporters of Gaddafi clashed with members of Libya's National Transition Council and took control of the town.
Bani Walid, 140 kilometers southeast of Tripoli, was one of the last bastions of followers of the late ruler.
The clashes were the first fierce battles between Gaddafi loyalists and the fighters of the new rulers of Libya since Gaddafi was overthrown and assassinated in October 2011.
In November, 15 soldiers loyal to the new leadership were killed in an ambush by Gaddafi loyalists just outside Bani Walid.
Libya's NTC has already been struggling with violent protests in its stronghold city of Benghazi, and with the resignation of its second most senior official.
Earlier Wednesday, Ian Martin, the UN special envoy for Libya, told the UN Security Council in New York, which convened in a regular meeting on Libya, that the proliferation of weapons in the wake of the overthrow of Gaddafi and the continued existence of diverse armed groups in Libya represented a continued threat to the country's security.