The first Libyan Tebu conference is to take place in Tripoli on 1 March.
There are an estimated 12,000-15,000 Tebus living in . . .[restrict]Libya, mainly south of Sebha. There are significant numbers in the towns of Murzuq and Qatrun.
There are far greater numbers across the border in northern Chad and Niger.
The Tebu have been in the spotlight in the past three weeks because of fighting in the south eastern town Kufra between them and members of the Zway tribe. There has been a long history of rivalry between the two groups, mainly over smuggling.
The clashes started on 11 February as a result of a killing involving smugglers from the two groups. But there had been growing resentment among Kufra’s majority Zway community at the power exercised by the local Tebu leader Isa Abdul Majid.
Despite his Africa policies, Qaddafi persecuted the Tebus leading to a Tebu uprising in 2008. This led to Qaddafi stripping most of them of their Libyan citizenship in 2009 and forced evictions and the demolition of their homes. Consequently, the Tebu joined last year’s revolution from the very beginning.
As a result, Abdul Majid and his forces were later entrusted by the NTC with securing the border with Chad and Sudan. However, it is claimed that he used the position for smuggling and to bring in many more forces from Chad and Darfur.
Before this month’s clashes there were some 2,000 Tebus in Kufra — a fraction of the number of Zway. They are said to number 50,000.
It is now reported by the UN that the latest ceasefire between the two communities is holding but that the situation is tense. Over 130 people are said to have been killed in the fighting.
It is thought that a number of leading Libyan officials will attend the Tripoli conference in order to demonstrate national unity.
The conference was organized before the Kufra fighting broke out. [/restrict]