Two days of fighting in the southeastern town of Kufra between two tribal groups, the Zway and the Tebu, was reported . . .[restrict]by security sources to have ended by Tuesday evening following the intervention of forces acting under the orders of the defence ministry. At least 15 people are reported killed in the clashes — eight Zway and seven Tebu — and more than 20 wounded. The wounded were airlifted to Benghazi.
The fighting between the two groups started on Sunday. It was confirmed the following day by NTC spokesman Mohamed Al-Harizi although he did not name the tribes at the time. He said there was “a problem between two tribes and they are working to find a peaceful solution”.
Both sides blamed the other for the clashes. The Tebu said they were attacked by Zway militiaman supported by NTC troops, claiming that the intention was, as one member put it, to “eliminate” them. The Zway said that the local Tebu leader, Isa Abdel Majid, had been importing tribesmen from neighbouring Chad to build up his power base. The trigger for the clashes, they say, was the killing of a member of their Zway tribe last week by three Tebu men.
The fighting, which saw both sides using rocket propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns against each other, ended after brigadesmen were flowing into the town on Tuesday from Benghazi, Derna and elsewhere in the east of Libya.
“Kufra is now under the full control of the defence ministry”, the source said. He added that the troops had been dispatched “to support the people of Kufra and get rid of people from Chad” — an apparent confirmation of the Zway’s version of events.
The Tebu inhabit the region of Libya south of Sebha and form a significant minority in Kufra. They are also found in northern Chad and eastern Niger.
The Tebu in Libya were severely persecuted under the Qaddafi regime. In December 2007, many were stripped of their Libyan citizenship. This led to an abortive Tebu uprising in 2009. As a result, during last year’s revolution, many Tebu sided early on with the anti-Qaddafi movement. [/restrict]