Ethnic clashes in Libya's south kill dozens

Ethnic clashes in Libya's south kill dozens
With scant resources in the Libya's southern desert region, rival Toubou and Tuareg tribes have been pitched in battle leaving hundreds of civilians to flee the fighting.
2 min read
22 July, 2015
Most Tuareg tribes supported Gaddafi during the 2011 revolution [Anadolu]

At least 40 people have been killed in ethnic clashes in southern Libya over the past week, a local official said, leading to hundreds of families being displaced.

Rival tribes from the Toubou and Tuareg minorities have been pitched in armed conflict over the past week, with the latest fighting centred on the oasis city of Sabha.

Since February, there have been repeated clashes between the two ethnic groups to fill the power vacuum in the south.

The Toubou, who mainly live in southeast Libya, near the border with Chad, were heavily discriminated under former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and played a key role in the 2011 revolution which overthrew the dictator.

The Tuareg, who mostly live in the southwest, along the border with Algeria and Niger, largely backed the regime.

In 2012, fighting between Arabs and Sabha prompted the Toubou to claim they were being ethnically cleansed from the city.

Fighting among various militias in Libya – and later between the rival Tobruk and Tripoli governments – saw chaos ensue in the country.

The Tuareg, Toubou and Arabs have all set up rival militias and there has been mounting competition for scant resources southern desert region.

Tripoli has armed the Tuareg while the Toubou are allegedly backed by the internationally-recognised government in Tripoli.

Tobruk issued a statement on Tuesday appealing to the warring sides to "stop fighting and resolve their differences through dialogue".