By Michel Cousins.
Tripoli, 16 June:
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has evacuated at least 50 wounded Tebu people from . . .[restrict]Kufra. They have been flown to hospitals in Tripoli and elsewhere in the country along with 39 members of their families.
An eight-person ICRC team arrived in Kufra on Wednesday and helped negotiate a temporary ceasefire between Tebu fighters and the government’s Libya Shield Brigade in order to evacuate the wounded. With the presence of the ICRC team in the town, the cessation of hostiliites has held and the the town is now quiet although it was reported on Thursday that one Tebu man had been shot dead by a sniper. Tebu leaders, however, insist that despite media reports otherwise no proper ceasefire has been agreed.
According to a Tebu resident, 40 Tebus have been killed in the shelling by Shield forces of two Tebu neighbourhoods, Qaderfi and Qarah Tebu since clashes between the two side resumed on Friday, 8 June.
Yunis Essa, a cousin of local Tebu commander Abdul-Majid Essa, told Libya Herald that the dead included seven children, seven women and four elderly men. Libya Herald has pictures purportedly of the dead children but they are too disturbing to publish.
Essa said that 28 children as well as 39 women were among the 152 Tebu wounded. He added that although the situation was now calm, there was no electricity or water and no food shops were open in Tebu neighbourhoods.
On Thursday, a mediation team from Ajdabiya appointed by the NTC together with a delegation from the national army went to Kufra to negotiate a ceasefire. During talks, the Tebus demanded a commission of inquiry into the clashes in Kufra, a promise that anyone responsible for killings should be punished, the removal of the Shield Forces and their replacement by the national army, a new Kufra local council on which there were Tebu representatives, compensation for damaged property and Libyan identity documents to be provided to Tebus.
However, the two sides appeared far apart. In a statement the same day, the National Tebu Alliance accused the Shield forces of genocide against the Tebus, the Libya media of lying about events in Kufra and the government and NTC of bowing to pressure from the Zway tribe.
The present conflict in Kufra originally started in February in a series of clashes between the Tebus and the town’s majority Zway comunity, largely over smuggling rivalries.
Meanwhile, it was reported yesterday that a convoy of brigadesmen sent from Benghazi to reinforce the Shield troops in Kufra were ambushed on Thursday evening by Tebu tribesmen in the Jebel Al-Huwaish area, 90 kilomtres noth of Kufra. Two vehicles in the convoy were said to have been hit and six brigadesmen injured. Four of the wounded were taken to hospital in Tazirbu and the other two to Kufra. [/restrict]