Many killed and several dozen wounded in clashes near southern Libyan city of Sebha

Numbers killed and wounded vary with different reports but the latest report from the Libya Herald gives a total of at least 15 killed and more than 35 wounded in four days of fighting in the southern city of Sabha.

The fighting is between rival tribes of Awlad Suleiman and Qaddadfa. The latter is the tribe to which Muammar Gadaffi, the former ruler of Libya, belonged. There was a brief pause this morning (November 19) when there was a two-hour ceasefire. The fighting is in the Al-Minshiya and Al-Madiya areas. Local residents confined to their homes say that their homes have been shaken as fighters use heavy mortars, and a tank cannon, as well as DShKM (Dushka) heavy caliber machine guns.
The Sabha medical center has been calling in all its staff as more dead and injured are brought in. A spokesperson for the hospital said that the hospital lacked the staff and medication to deal with the crisis situation. A recent tweet said: "#Sebha medical center calls all medical staff to urgently attend as tribal war rages &casualties mutiply". The Misratan Third Force used to provide security in Sabha but most of the unit moved out to help support the offensive against the Islamic State in Sirte.
It is not certain why the fighting started although there are local reports claiming that it started when a monkey owned by own tribesman bit a rival tribesman. There are long-standing rivalries between the two tribes. In 2015 when Gadaffi's son Saif was sentenced to death by a Tripoli court there were violent demonstrations in Sabha with the Gadaffi green flag draped from many buildings. Saif was never executed. There are reports he was released in July.
In an earlier report in the Libya Observer, 7 people were reported killed and 25 injured on Friday as clashes again erupted. The Sabha medical center declared a state of emergency. Five people were reported killed on Thursday. Spokesperson for the Sabha Medical Center, Osama Al-Wafi, said: “Over 30 people arrived at the Sabha Medical Center and some needed urgent surgeries, but the lack of equipment and shortage of medics had entangled the situation.”
Ibrahim Mehrez of the Sabha municipal council said that a delegation from notables and elders in Sabha had been approached to negotiate a ceasefire. Meanwhile many main roads remain closed in the city and there are many rival fighters present in residential areas. Sources indicated that some families had been able to flee to safer areas of the city.


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