TRIPOLI, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Libya's eastern-based army on Thursday set a March 17 deadline for nationals from neighboring African countries to leave southern Libya in order to curb the erupting violence there, warning else they would be removed by force.
A statement issued by the army led by General Khalifa Haftar set March 17 as "the deadline for their departure from the Libyan territory", saying, "After this date, they will be removed by force using all possible means, both land and air."
"The General Command of the Armed Forces of Libya calls on African brothers from neighboring countries not to be dragged behind the lawless militias and be exploited to destabilize the south," it said.
The army also called on tribal elders and leaders in southern Libya to stop social support for all those who "help in any way protect or house African nationals, leading to destabilization of southern Libya."
It made the appeal after fighting between rival tribes in southern Libya reportedly caused casualties and displaced hundreds of people.
Recent tribal clashes in the city of Sabha, located some 800 km southwest of capital Tripoli, have killed 10 civilians and injured 30 others, the local medical center said.
People from Chad, Niger and Sudan have been accused of involvement in the conflicts in Sabha. Hamed Al-Khiali, head of the municipal council of Sabha, said last month that the local airport was occupied by "an armed group that has nothing to do with Libya," carrying flags of other African countries.
Recently in Tripoli, the UN-backed government announced measures to support its forces in Sabha to fight the so-called "mercenaries".