TRIPOLI, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Clashes broke out on Wednesday between the Libyan presidential guard forces and gunmen in Al-Maya town, 30 km west of the capital Tripoli, according to a security source.
"Clashes broke out since noon today in Al-Maya, after the special deterrent force raided an armed gang stronghold involved in assassinations and kidnappings.
The gang was stationed in a commercial bank, closed it at gun point and used it to carry out its operations," an official of the presidential guards told Xinhua.
"After the special deterrence force captured a number of gunmen and killed others, including the leader of the gang, hundreds of gunmen rushed from nearby areas to lift the siege on the gang," the official explained.
The official said that the clashes continue at the moment "until all the gunmen are arrested," pointing out that a social mediation to urge the gunmen to surrender themselves without a fight has failed.
The source did not provide any death toll of the clashes.
The presidential guard of the UN-backed government consists of police and military units.
It was formed in May 2016 to secure government offices and main roads in and around Tripoli, as well as the highway linking Tripoli and western cities.
The special deterrence force earlier posted photos on its official Facebook page of an operation carried out in Al-Maya.
"A mission was carried out this morning and 11 people were arrested after clashing with a gang involved in kidnappings and robbery in Warshaffana area. The gang, led by the criminal Bohmaira Juweda, controlled Sahara Bank branch of Al-Maya at gun point," the force said.
The force confirmed that after the clashes erupted, Juweda was killed and most of the gang members were arrested.