Libya’s south scarred by tribal battles

At least 86 killed and 128 wounded as clashes continue between armed groups from Tabu and Arab tribes.

Rebels who toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 have refused to give up their arms [File: AP]

Fierce clashes in southern Libya between tribes, government forces and former loyalists of Muammar Gaddafi have killed at least 86 people over the past two weeks, a top hospital official in the southern city of Sabha has said.

At least 128 people were also wounded in the violence in which a hospital was shelled, Abdullah Wahida, the head of Sabha Hospital added.

Clashes were sparked by a revenge attack by African-origin Tabu tribesmen against a militia commander of the Arab Awlad Sulieman tribe.

Sabha was one of Gaddafi’s traditional strongholds and was the last city to fall to rebels who fought an eight-month civil war against his forces in 2011.

The death of Gaddafi led to a loss of power among allied Arab tribes, allowing the Tabu to gain control in the border areas with Chad and Niger.

The Tabu, who live in southern Libya, northern Chad and Niger, suffered discrimination under Gaddafi.

In March 2012, clashes between the Tabu and Arab tribes left scores dead, many of them residents of impoverished Tabu areas which came under heavy shelling.

Mediators reached a cease-fire under the condition that Arabs hand in men involved in the killings to Libyan authorities but Tabu tribal leaders said no one was handed over, fueling anger and sparking the latest round of clashes.

Source: AP