Ceasefire brokered as clashes kill 147 in Libya
TRIPOLI - ReutersA week of fighting between rival tribes deep in Libya’s south has killed 147 people, the government said on March 31, but it said it had brokered a fresh ceasefire agreement between the two sides.
The clashes in the desert oasis city of Sabha were between members of the Tibu ethnic group, many of whom are originally from neighboring Chad, and local militias from Sabha. The fighting underlines the fragility of the government’s grip on Libya over six months after a revolt ended Moammar Gadhafi’s rule, as well as the volatility of a country awash with weapons left over from the rebellion.
Minister of Health Fatima al-Hamroush said on March 31 that 147 people had been killed and 395 injured since the clashes broke out a week ago. Interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al-Keib told reporters a truce was now in force. The government has previously announced ceasefires over the past few days but these have collapsed. The prime minister said a delegation including the ministers of interior, defense and health travelled to Sabha this week to broker the peace deal. “We are pained for the south and we are sorry that the clashes reached this stage,” said Al-Keib. “The government is working to solve this problem. We have reached a cease fire agreement.”
The ruling National Transitional Council is still struggling to assert its authority across Libya, where rival militias and tribal groups are jostling for power and resources following Gadhafi’s fall. The council is hampered by the lack of a coherent national army and has struggled to persuade the myriad militias who fought Gadhafi to put down their guns and join the national armed forces and police.