Libya: 17 killed in tribal clashes

A fierce gunfight between two tribes in Libya`s remote southeastern desert has killed at least 17 people in the past two days and wounded another 22 tribals.

Tripoli: A fierce gunfight between two
tribes in Libya`s remote southeastern desert has killed at least 17 people in the past two days and wounded another 22 tribals.

Clashes between the tribes of Zwai and Tobu in the town
of Kufra have killed 17 people since Sunday, including nine
from the Zwai tribe and eight from the Tobu clan, sources from
both the tribes said Tuesday.

A source from the Tobu tribe said "shelling from the Zwai
side was intense with heavy weapons."

He said that members of his tribe turned to the the
National Transitional Council for help but that Libya`s ruling
body "did not respond and did not answer our calls".

Earlier on Monday, NTC spokesman Mohammed al-Harizi
confirmed that there were clashes between two groups
yesterday.

"It was a problem between two tribes and they are working
to find a peaceful solution," he told AFP, without naming the
tribes.

Both groups were using light arms when the fighting
initially erupted yesterday, but the violence then intensified, with the two sides firing rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns, sources said.

A militant from Tobu tribe said those fighting him and
his comrades since yesterday were Zwai tribesmen supported by
the NTC.

"There is a plan to exterminate the Tobu tribe. Our
situation is worse than what it was under Gaddafi," he said
without giving his name.

Members of Tobu, who are dark-skinned, were discriminated
against even under the regime of slain dictator Muammar
Gaddafi.

The latest clashes apparently erupted after a young man
from the Zwai tribe was killed in Kufra by three dark-skinned
men believed to be from the Tobu tribe three days ago, a
source from the Zwai tribe said.

Tobu tribe is also present in Niger and Chad, while the
town of Kufra which houses about 40,000 people, is located in
a triangle sharing borders with Egypt, Chad and Sudan.

The desert town also witnessed deadly clashes during last
year`s anti-Gaddafi uprising, which erupted across the country
and ended with the strongman`s death in October.

PTI

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