Tripoli, 23 May:
The Libya Shield forces based in Kufra have put out a statement saying that they are being neutral with everybody . . .[restrict]and are working to reconcile Arabs and Tebu in the town. They say that they are ready to confront any attempts to destabilize the situation in the area.
They state that they now have sufficient troops and military equipment to deal with anyone who threatens the security of Kufra and its borders, including both illegal immigrants or gangs of smugglers. All the city’s districts will be secured, they state.
Tensions between the town’s minority Tebu community and the majority Arab Zway tribe, mainly over smuggling, resulted in communal violence in February in which over 100 people died. In April, fresh clashes resulted in another 11 deaths. The violence resulted in Tebu areas in the town becoming armed enclaves, off limits to government forces, including the Shield members.
Earlier this month it was announced that members of Tebu armed units from Kufra were to join the army and interior ministry.
In the past few weeks, the Shield forces have deported hundreds of illegal immigrants, mainly Tebus, to Chad. [/restrict]