28 Feb – 6 Mar: Clashes between Tebu and Awlad Suliman in Sebha continue

Mar 6, 2018 | Libyan actors

On 6 March, local sources reported clashes between Tebu and Awlad Suliman militias involving tanks in the Nasriya area of Sebha, north of the airport. Fighting between the two groups has also intensified in the Tayuri district of Sebha, an area populated with Tebu and Tuareg groups. Authorities are said to have opened schools to shelter as many as 1,200 people who have abandoned the neighbourhood. Clashes between Tebu and Awlad Suliman militias in the city began in early February.

On 3 March, an eastern Libyan reconciliation delegation departed Sebha after Tebu representatives failed to arrive at the signing of a truce agreement between them and the Awlad Suliman forces. Allegedly, the Tebu were fired upon when attempting to reach the meeting. These attempts follow earlier tribal mediation efforts and a Cyrenaican peace delegation that had the backing of the House of Representatives (HoR). On 4 March, the Libyan National Army (LNA) allegedly launched a security operation in southern Libya, declaring the area around Sebha a military zone and asking civilians to avoid certain locations, and deploying forces to Brak-al-Shatti airbase from Benghazi.

On 28 February, the Government of National Accord (GNA) accused “mercenaries” and “foreigners” of attacking the GNA-aligned Awlad Suliman’s 6th Brigade and called upon Libyans to protect the south’s resources and national sovereignty from foreigners. The National Tebu Assembly responded and denounce the GNA’s statement, asking for an independent inquiring into what was occurring in Sebha. The GNA has now altered its tone and is calling for a political resolution to the conflict in Sebha.

The clashes between Awlad Suliman’s 6th Brigade and Tebu militias in Sebha are said to be due to the non-payment of the reparations agreed upon in a peace agreement negotiated between the two tribes in Rome last year. The Awlad Suliman is an Arab tribe while the Tebu area traditionally nomadic non-Arab tribe, with members spread across southern Libya, Niger, and Chad. Both have a presence in Sebha, along with the Tuareg, an Amazigh (Berber) tribe.