Tribes clash in south Libya - 100+ dead

2012-02-21 22:45

Tripoli - Fierce clashes between two tribes in Libya's remote southeastern desert have killed more than 100 people over the past 10 days, tribal sources said on Tuesday.

At least 113 people from the Toubu tribe and another 20 from the Zwai tribe have been killed in the desert town of Kufra since the fighting between them erupted on February 12, the sources said.

"We are under siege for a week. Since the start of the clashes, 113 people [from our side] have been killed, including six children," Toubu chief Issa Abdelmajid told AFP by telephone.

He said another 241 members of his tribe have been wounded in the raging battles with members of the Zwai tribe.

Abdelmajid, a former opponent of Muammar Gaddafi who fought the slain dictator's forces in last year's conflict, was previously tasked by the ruling National Transitional Council with monitoring Libya's southeastern border.

At least 20 people from the Zwai tribe have also been killed and another 40 wounded in the clashes, said Yunus Zwai, spokesperson for the Kufra local council.

"People from Toubu tribe are being helped by foreign elements from Chad and Sudan. We have arrested several Chadian and Sudanese fighters," he said.

Both groups were using light arms when the fighting erupted, but the violence intensified, with the two sides firing rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns, local sources said.

Smuggling routes

"I appeal to the international community to intervene and stop these clashes which are aimed at exterminating my tribe," said Abdelmajid.

"We tried calling the NTC but it has not responded," he added.

Libya's official LANA news agency quoted NTC spokesperson Mohammed al-Harizi as saying that the situation in Kufra was "not calm".

"There is an armed conflict between certain members of the society there in which several have been killed and wounded," Harizi said on Monday without specifying the number of casualties.

An NTC source, on condition of anonymity, said that control of lucrative smuggling routes was at the root of the conflict.

Zwai, meanwhile, said those fighting members of his tribe were not Libyan Toubu tribesmen, but "foreign elements".

"There is an invisible hand in the fighting. The Libyan Toubu are safe in their homes," he said.

Members of the Toubu tribe are dark-skinned and present in southeastern Libya as well as in Chad, Sudan and Niger.

Kufra, with a population of about 40 000 people, is located in a triangle sharing borders with Egypt, Chad and Sudan. The Toubu tribe faced discrimination under Gaddafi's regime.

  • Fred - 2012-02-21 23:45

    Wait for it ... here come Fidel and Patrick, perhaps a few others, saying that Libya under Gaddafi was a paradise and the so-called West is responsible for these tribal conflicts post-Gaddafi.

      kthage - 2012-02-22 02:46

      Isn't that the truth? If you have actually been to Libya before, you'd recognize that they had the highest standard of living in Africa. Tripoli was truly a paradise, I haven't visited there since the war though.

      Fred - 2012-02-22 06:48

      kthage, Libyans were not able to vote and their self-appointed leader was a psychotic madman who was killing, maiming and torturing thousands of Libyans who wanted nothign more than the right to vote. Did you enjoy Apartheid?

      Fred - 2012-02-22 07:49

      In addition, there were ongoing tribal conflicts when Gaddafi was in power.

  • malcolm - 2012-02-22 07:21

    Well Fred, If you did some research on Libya, you would understand that Gaddafi did a massive amount of development for Libya. Libyans are sand blasted Africans who like to kill each other. No different from the rest of Africa. The West should have left them alone to get on with it. Since the intervention of the West, and without strong militant leadership, chaos and mayhem is happening. Sure Gaddafi may have killed thousands, but just watch over the years to come, and you will see hundreds of thousand killed. You decide which is better. Personally I don't care how many of these people get killed. Its the African way, and nothing will change it.

      Fred - 2012-02-22 07:34

      No offense, this is a deeply cynical and largely inhuman perspective.

      Donald - 2012-02-22 08:11

      I tend to agree with Malcolm. It seems that some groups of people are unable to handle democracy, especially in Africa. When I look at all the infighting and diverse ideas on policy within the ANC, I cant help but wonder just how long it will take for someone like to Malema to take hold of the reigns, and slowly change ANC policy so that it moves from a democracy to a dictatorship, to be aligned with the rest of Africa.

  • Putin the " - 2012-02-22 09:09

    A job welldone NATO!!

      Fred - 2012-02-22 18:48

      What does NATO have to do with ongoing tribal conflicts in Libya?

      Anthony - 2012-02-22 19:25

      Putin, If you really have to say something silly anti Western, why don't you comment on a car accident story involving an American car, or something negative about "fast food" , but this 'p.ssing' on Nato , is now wearing so thin, its actually become childish !!!!!

      Fred - 2012-02-23 07:14

      I feel my job is well done when that's all you can come up with, Patrick, instead of your incitement to negative thinking and ideologies.

      Fred - 2012-02-27 16:20

      Like when you told us Libyans really supported Gaddafi and Gaddafi would triumph?

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