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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Southern Libya Tuareg and Tebu tribes agree to ceasefire

After a conflict that has lasted over a year, the Tebu and Tuareg tribes that control territory in the south of Libya have signed a ceasefire. Much of the conflict has been in the southern city of Obari.
The deal was worked out with Qatar acting as mediator and was signed in Doha, Qatar on November 23. There will be an immediate ceasefire and thousands of people displaced during the conflict will be able to return. In July of this year, the battle between the two tribes reached into Sebha or Sabha, the largest city in the south, causing hundreds to flee their homes. An attempt to negotiate a truce in September failed due to violations of the ceasefire. More details are given at the usually pro-HoR Libya Herald. The Herald expresses scepticism about the present ceasefire as well.
The Toubou or Tebu are a group of Berbers. They live primarily in northern Chad, but there are also significant numbers in southern Libya, and some also in Southern Sudan and Niger. The group were discriminated against during the Gadaffi regime and fought with other rebels against him. The Tuareg are also a Berber nomadic group who live mostly in Niger and Mali. They often are in conflict with governments as they seek autonomy. At one time they controlled much of northern Mali. There are a significant number of Tuareg in the south western part of Libya. The group being nomadic, as are the Tebu, they often move from one country to another.
The Tuareg representative, Mustafa Salem, said to an Al-Jazeera reporter:"Signing this deal means the start of the construction and development period, and reconciliation. After 14 months of war, I think all of us are convinced that no one has interest in war.There are fingers of regional powers and competing political orientations and ideologies...it is not a merely tribal conflict."The Tripoli-based General National Congress(GNC) applauded the ceasefire and thanked Qatar in its role as mediator. The GNC saw the agreement as a move towards reconciliation in the whole of southern Libya.
Youssef Cherif, a political analyst based in Tunis, claimed the situation remains fragile:"While the Tripoli government welcomes the news, [on] the other side - the [UN-recognised] Tobruk government and Khalifa Haftar - there is a lot of criticism." Khalifa Haftar is the commander of the armed forces of the internationally-recognized House of Representatives(HoR) based in Tobruk. The GNC has often accused Haftar of fomenting strife in southern Libya to gain control of the area for groups favourable to the HoR and himself.


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