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FACTDROP: Tribal warfare rages in Libya


Tribal warfare rages in Libya

Πηγή: Winston-Salem Journal
Feb 22 2012

KUFRA, Libya -- Scores of civilians have been killed since Monday in tribal warfare in southern Libya, witnesses said Tuesday.

Moussa Bazama, an ambulance driver hauling the injured to the coast, said 50 people had been killed by the rockets, mortars and gunfire in residential areas of Kufra, a desert town.

Phone and other communications in the remote region, hundreds of miles from Libya's main population centers on the coast, are sporadic.

Lines of trucks and cars carrying hundreds of families are streaming out of the region on the highway north.

"The situation is extremely bad," said Abdel-Rehim al-Shewih, an engineer in Kufra contacted by phone. "It is about who kills the most every day."

He said shops were closed, no one could walk in the street, and if one tribe takes over one square, the other opens fire and drives it out.

For more than a week, the powerful Arab tribe of al-Zwia has clashed with the African Tabu tribe near Kufra, a border area where Libya, Chad and Sudan meet. The region is a hub for the smuggling of African migrants, goods and drugs.

The two groups are old rivals. The Tabu long had complained of discrimination under former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Since Feb. 11, the fighting has escalated, with smaller Arab tribes joining al-Zwia against the Tabu, residents of the area say.

On Tuesday, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the leader of Libya's ruling National Transitional Council, said that Gadhafi's regime loyalists are "seeding sedition" in Kufra. He declined to elaborate on which of the tribes is connected to the former regime.

NTC leaders often blame Libya's problems on remnants of Gadhafi's regime, usually without proof.

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