Libyan militia takes former Gadhafi stronghold

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BANI WALID, Libya — Libya’s government today took control of one of the last strongholds of deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s loyalists, the government claimed, after fierce battles that left dozens dead and thousands displaced.

The capture of Bani Walid was a triumph for the government that replaced Gadhafi’s regime, but the fact that it took a full year underlined the fractious nature of the country and the new regime’s inability to impose its authority over squabbling tribes and heavily armed militias.

The victory could even spark new violence. The government-backed militia that led the charge came from the city of Misrata, a longtime rival of Bani Walid, and recriminations could result.

Bani Walid is one of the last major pockets of support for the former regime, and disarming its militants has been one of the most daunting tasks facing the government.

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