By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 15 September 2013:
At least two people, possibly three, are reported to have been killed and others wounded in . . .[restrict]clashes in Sebha between two army battalions in the town representing rival tribes. According to the local Germa news agency, negotiations are now underway to try and end the fighting.
The clashes which took place between Sebha’s historic fort and the airport started on Saturday evening between a local Libya Shield unit and members of the Baha-Uddin battalion. Two of the dead were taken to Sebha medical centre as were the two of the injured. They are said to be in a stable condition.
The fighting is reported to be over control of military premises near the fort. However, there is strong tribal element to the conflict, with one battalion said to be representing the region’s Awlad Sulaiman tribe and the other the Hasawna tribe.
One of the dead, from the Hasawna, has been named as Ahmed Izedeen Ayfa.
The director of Sebha Airport, Mohamed Owidah, was quoted by the local Germa news agency saying that the clashes had not so far disrupted flights. An Afriqiyah Airways flight had left for Tunis today, he said. But he warned that if the fighting continued it was quite likely that the airport would have to be closed.
Rivalry between the two tribes runs deep. Two months ago, a members of the Hasawna, Ibrahim Al-Hasnawi was murdered while in Sebha jail. Reports at the time said that he was killed by members of the Abu-Zahra family of the Awlad Sulaiman tribe who were let into the prison by fellow tribesmen working there.
The Awlad Sulaiman have been involved in fighting against other groups – notably the Qadhadhfa tribe and the Tebus.