3 dead as tribal violence flares in south Libya

In marginalised Fezzan region, tribal rivalries have frequently spilt over into bloodshed

16:39 March 7, 2018

TRIPOLI: Fighting between tribes in southern Libya on Tuesday killed three people and wounded 20, medics said, in the latest flare-up in over a month of clashes.

Violence has rocked the town of Sebha, some 600km south of Tripoli, where tribal rivalries have frequently spilt over into bloodshed.

The Sebha Medical Centre wrote on social media that three civilians, including a young girl, were killed after a two-day lull in fighting.

The latest clashes in the marginalised Fezzan region — known for its smuggling routes — have seen the Arab Awlad Sulaiman tribe pitted against the Tubus.

The UN said on Tuesday that it was “deeply concerned” by the escalation in fighting that had left at least six civilians dead and seen a hospital “hit repeatedly”.

Since the 2011 revolution that ousted longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Fezzan has been embroiled in conflict involving the ethnic Tubus and Tuaregs, as well as two Arab tribes, the Zuwaya and the Awlad Sulaiman.

Libya has been gripped by chaos since a Nato-backed uprising toppled and killed Gaddafi in 2011, with rival administrations and multiple militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.

A UN-backed unity government based in the capital Tripoli has struggled to assert its authority outside the west, and military strongman Khalifa Haftar controls much of the east.

The government chief Fayez Al Sarraj on Tuesday announced “support measures” for forces to “protect and secure the south from all dangers” after a meeting with commanders from the region.

The health ministry urged the “warring parties to spare medical facilities in the city” and officials said they were dispatching 10 vehicles equipped with medical equipment to establish an airlift point.

Rival Haftar’s militia on Sunday announced it had deployed forces to an airbase in the south of the country.