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World View: Bizarre Monkey Attack Triggers Tribal War in Jabha in Southern Libya

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Bizarre monkey attack triggers tribal war in Jabha in southern Libya
  • Tribal warfare in southern Libya could destabilize all of Libya

Bizarre monkey attack triggers tribal war in Jabha in southern Libya

Map of Libya, showing regions occupied by different ethnic groups (Al-Araby)
Map of Libya, showing regions occupied by different ethnic groups (Al-Araby)

Clashes between two rival tribes in Sabha in southern Libya, killing dozens of people and wounding over 100, was triggered by a bizarre incident involving a monkey.

A monkey belonging to a shopkeeper attacked a group of schoolgirls passing by, bit and scratched some, and pulled the headscarf off one girl’s head. The shopkeeper was from the Gaddadfa tribe, which is the tribe of former Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi.

The schoolgirls are from the Awlad Suleiman tribe. After the incident, men from the Awlad Suleiman tribe killed the monkey and three people from the Gaddadfa tribe, the shopkeeper and his family according to some reports.

Fighting then escalated between the two tribes to involve tanks, mortars, shells and rockets, and has continued for several days. By Sunday, there were still sporadic clashes.

During the 2011 Libyan war that resulted in the overthrow and death of Muammar al-Gaddafi, Sabha was the heart of al-Gaddafi’s support base, which consisted mainly of the Gaddadfa tribe in Jabha and Sirte, as well as the Warfalla and Merghara tribes from other regions. Al-Araby and Information Nigeria

Tribal warfare in southern Libya could destabilize all of Libya

The region around Sabha is heavily populated by two Arab tribes, the Gaddadfa tribe and the Awlad Suleiman tribe. Also in the region are two non-Arab nomadic Berber ethnic minorities, the Tuareg and Tubu tribes, that are spread across Africa from Libya to the Algeria.

Muammar Gaddafi was successful in manipulating these tribes to his own advance, but since their disappearance there has been a power struggle, leading to frequent outbreaks of violence across Libya’s south. Groups are competing to control borders, strategic assets (such as energy infrastructure and roads), and the formal and informal economy.

The main tensions are between the Arab (Gaddadfa, Awlad Suleiman) and non-Arab (Tuareg, Tubu) tribes. The non-Arab tribes generally have much darker skin than the Arab tribes, and were discriminated against by the Arabs when al-Gaddafi was in power. Since his overthrow, and the end of many border controls, the non-Arab tribes have been moving into other areas, causing increased tensions with the Arab tribes, with clashes erupting among and between the Arab and non-Arab tribes.

The media have been focusing mainly on northern Libya, including cities like Tripoli and Benghazi. But a war among tribes in the south could quickly spread to the north, and even to other countries. Al-Araby (24-Nov-2015) and West Point Combating Terrorism Center (10-Dec-2014)

Related Articles

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Libya, Sabha, Muammar al-Gaddafi, Gaddadfa, Awlad Suleiman, Warfalla, Merghara, Tuareg, Tubu, Arab, Berber
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