By Jamal Adel.
Kufra, 21 September 2014:
Obari was reported relatively quiet this morning following four days of intermittent fighting between Tebus and . . .[restrict]Tuaregs in which at least eight people have died and seven were wounded.
Occasional gunfire could, however, still heard around the southwestern oasis town and despite mediation efforts by elders from Zintan, Brak Al-Shatti and the Hasawna tribe, it is reported that there are fears of further clashes. The Tuareg are said to have moved to the nearby Tendi mountain area.
The fighting started on 17 September after the Tuareg militia attempted to take control of the town’s petrol station, guarded by the largely Tebu joint security room. It is said that they also tried to take control of a nearby airfield.
“The town is largely calm now, although sporadic shooting can be heard,” a Tebu resident in Murzuk, Ahmed Tuka, told the Libya Herald.
With no communications and no electricity in the town, it has not been possible to contact residents directly. Tuka said he had been in contact with relatives living near Obari.
Yesterday, the mediators managed to ensure freedom for hostages taken by both sides.
“Mediators reached the town and met both fighting groups, former Defence Minister Osama Juwaili told this newspaper. “The mediators sought to keep peace and restore order in the town,” he said.
In addition to life having come to a standstill in the town, with shops and offices closed, there is also something medical crisis, with shortages of medicines and medical supplies at Obari hospital.
“There could be a humanitarian disaster if the clashes continue,” said Juwaili.
Although local Tuaregs stress that the militia which attacked four days ago has nothing to do with them, they appear to have been sucked into the conflict. It is reported that some of their homes were damaged in fighting in the town in the past couple of days when Tebus from outside Obari arrived to join the fight against the pro-Libya Dawn Tuareg militia.
The fighting has broken a more than century-old peace treaty between Tuaregs and Tebus in southern Libya.
It is not known if those in the militia are Libyan or foreign Tuaregs. It is claimed in the south that over the past three years, some 140,000 Tuaregs from Niger and Mali have taken shelter into Libya.
“They are well armed, unlike Libyan Tuaregs who have no weapons and no power,” stated one Tebu observer. [/restrict]