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Saturday, December 3, 2016

3-day ceasefire agreed to by two warring tribes in Sebha area of southern Libya

(November 23) The ceasefire deal was brokered by a committee of notables and elders from the Sabha area and beyond. The clashes have been occuring in the city between the Awlad Sulaiman and Gadadfa tribes. The latter is the tribe of Muammar Gaddafi.

The cease-fire was to start on 11 PM Tuesday, November 22. Clashes had already killed 15 and wounded more than 35.
There are different reports as to how the clashes started but many reports claim it involved a monkey. The Libya Observer claims that a monkey belonging to a member of the Gadadfa tribe jumped on a group of schoolgirls and snatched the scarf of one leaving her bare-headed in the street. In the south in general and in the Awald Sulaim tribe this is regarded as shameful. In retaliation, tribal relatives of the girl killed not only the monkey but the owner as well, setting off the clashes between the two groups.
Elders and notables had been trying without success from the start to defuse the situation as the clashes have caused considerable damage and displaced some citizens from the areas where the fighting is taking place. Shelling has often been haphazard. Senior figures in the tribes are backed by militias.
A member of the eastern-based House of Representatives (HoR) government from Sabha city, Musbah Doma, accused the Libyan National Army forces of the HoR commanded by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, of fueling the conflict in Sabha saying: “Haftar is trying to take advantage of the tribal clashes within Sabha and turn it into a political one. Dignity Operation military vehicles were seen in the clashes zones in Sabha in the very first day of the fight, so we had contacted the “General Command” and they told us the vehicles were given to Nasir Benjarid and he stole them and used them in Sabha conflict.” Dignity Operation is Haftar's operation to remove Islamists from Libya including some of the militia who support the rival UN-brokered Government of National Accord(GNA). The operation started in May of 2014.
As Doma notes the explanation was "jumbled mumbled" and at best it shows that the the Operation Dignity fighters loyal to Haftar are "not well-disciplined and don’t follow the commands of their chiefs," adding that this will be a very perilous sign meaning that the state resources will be used to fuel conflicts in the southern region and beyond. Doma had sent a letter to Speaker of the HoR Aqilah Saleh who said he would send a reconciliation delegation but Doma complained that Saleh's orders did not always comply with his words. Doma alleged: “Haftar and his followers are trying to take the edge of the Sabha clashes by appointing biased leaderships to the city. Some of those leaderships are part of one side of the conflict and they are fighting for it.” Doma worried that the intervention of Haftar forces would politicize the conflict and undermine conciliation efforts. Doma said that the HoR and the LNA command bore responsbility for worsening the conflict although the reconciliation efforts had gone more than half way to negotiating a permanent truce. The HoR and its armed forces do not recognize the UN-brokered Government of National Accord.


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