Monkey Attack Triggers Deadly Tribal Violence in Libya

Fredrick Ngugi November 21, 2016
Photo credit: AP/DPA, Holger Hollemann

At least 16 people have died so far in Libya, following tribal clashes that were reportedly triggered by a monkey that attacked a schoolgirl Wednesday, reports the Guardian.

The violence allegedly broke out between the two tribes, after three young men from the Gaddadfa tribe had a pet monkey pull off a young schoolgirl’s headscarf, prompting men from the Awlad Suleiman tribe to hit back by killing three people from the former tribe as well as the monkey.

“There was an escalation on the second and third days with the use of tanks, mortars, and other heavy weapons. There are still sporadic clashes and life is completely shut down in the areas where there has been fighting,” a resident of the affected Sabha City, Libya, said.

Libyan officials are yet to comment on the issue.

Attempts by tribal leaders to quell the conflict and allow bodies of the dead to be collected have failed and tension is still high in the area, according to residents.

By Sunday, Sabha Medical Center had received the bodies of 16 people killed in the clashes and some 50 wounded.

“There are women and children among the wounded and some foreigners from sub-Saharan African countries among those killed due to indiscriminate shelling,” the hospital added.

Opening Healing Wounds

Libya has been engulfed in deadly conflict since the killing of President Muammar Gaddafi in a violent uprising that rocked the North African country in 2011.

The Gaddadfa and Awlad Suleiman tribes are the two most powerful armed factions in Sabha region, which is allegedly the hub for migrant and arms smuggling in Libya.

The two tribes have been at loggerheads for decades, with each tribe accusing the other of betrayal.

In 1969 when President Gaddafi seized power, members of the Awlad Suleiman tribe were accused of plotting to overthrow him. As a result, many tribesmen were killed and imprisoned.

Sabha City is home to a large number of members of the Gaddadfa tribe, to which president Gaddafi belonged.

Apart from being the stronghold of Gaddafi, a large portion of Sabha City’s population are migrants from Chad, Niger, and Sudan who were brought to the country by the toppled president in the 1980s.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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