Rival Libyan tribes sign ceasefire deal in Doha
Tebu and Tuareg tribes end 14-month conflict in southern city of Obari, allowing thousands of people to be resettled.
Rival tribes from southern Libya have signed a ceasefire agreement in Qatar, ending 14 months of fighting in the city of Obari in southern Libya.
The deal between the Tebu and Tuareg tribes, which calls for an immediate ceasefire and the return of thousands of people displaced by the conflict, was signed in Doha on Monday.
“Signing this deal means the start of the construction and development period, and reconciliation. After 14 months of war, I think all of us are convinced that no one has interest in war,” Tuareg representative Mustafa Salem told Al Jazeera.
Tebu tribe representative Mohammed Sundo said: “The Tebu and Tuareg lived side by side in the desert for many years. But after this war, there was external interference and hidden fingers instigating.
“There are fingers of regional powers and competing political orientations and ideologies … it is not a merely tribal conflict.”
Hopes for stability
Tribal and ethnic fighting in southern Libya increased since the topple of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
In July, clashes between the two tribes reached Sebha, the biggest city in southern Libya, forcing hundreds of families to flee their homes.
Efforts to negotiate a truce in September halted because the ceasefire was violated.
The Qatari mediator hoped the deal would help stabilise the rest of Libya, where two competing governments are fighting for power.
“We have seen the importance of stability of the south as the corner stone for the stability of the entire country, because Libya has open space and can be fertile land for different extremist and armed groups,” said Mohammed bin Jassim Al Thani, minister’s assistant for international cooperation affairs.
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Libya’s legally installed government in Tripoli welcomed the signing of the ceasefire deal in a statement and thanked Qatar for mediating the process.
“The General National Congress looks forward to this as being the right step towards conclusive reconciliation in the South of Libya and subsequently in the whole of Libya,” the statement said.
Southern Libya, where unemployment is high, is home to African, Tuareg, Arab and Amazigh tribes and some extend into neighbouring countries.
Youssef Cherif, a Tunis-based political analyst specialising in North Africa, said: “The situation remains fragile.”
“While the Tripoli government welcomes the news, [on] the other side – the [UN-recognised] Tobruk government and Khalifa Haftar – there is a lot of criticism,” he said, referring to the self-appointed defence minister recognised by the Tobruk administration.