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Secretary of State Kerry Expresses Concern Over Libya Violence

Libyan Violence
Mourners carry the coffin of one of the victims of a shootout the previous day at an anti-militia protest in Tripoli, on November 16, 2013. Source: AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concern about clashes in Libya between government-affiliated militias and protesters that the Associated Press reported to have killed at least 47 people since yesterday.

Soldiers and the militias today attacked a military base occupied by gunmen in Tripoli, killing four in addition to the 43 protesters who were killed the day before when militias fired on a crowd urging the breakup of armed groups, the AP said.

The political unrest and clashes in Libya may curtail oil production in the North African country and push prices higher next year, the International Energy Agency said Nov. 14.

``If a free people are going to succeed in forging a peaceful, secure, and prosperous country with a government based on the rule of law and respect for human rights, then there can be no place for this kind of violence in the new Libya,’’ Kerry said in a statement today.

Libya enjoyed a burst of unity after the 2011 NATO-backed war that ousted Muammar Qaddafi and during the first fully democratic vote in more than 50 years a year later. Since then, militias from Benghazi, Misrata and Zintan, who led fighting against Qaddafi, have been using force to exact political concessions and seek a looser federation. Radical Islamists have meanwhile been attempting to carve out a base in the east.

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