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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kufra Battles Kill Over 100

February 22, 2012
edits 2/23

Thanks to Global Civilians for Peace for keeping up on these and other recent news stories.

Unstable Libya as militias clash in desert town. AFP via Al Akhbar English, Feb. 14
Fresh tribal clashes erupted Tuesday in Libya's remote southeastern desert, with one man saying five members of his clan had been killed, a toll that could not be independently verified.

Clashes between the Zwai and the Toubu tribes in the town of Kufra broke out for a third consecutive day on Tuesday after 17 people were killed in fierce fighting over the first two days.

More than 100 killed in clashes in southern Libya: Tribes
AFP via Times of India, Feb. 22, 2012
Fierce clashes between two tribes in Libya’s remote southeastern desert have killed more than 100 people over the past 10 days, tribal sources said on Tuesday.

At least 113 people from the Toubu tribe and another 23 from the Zwai tribe have been killed in the town of Kufra since fighting erupted on February 12, the sources said.

“We are under siege since a week. Since the start of the clashes, 113 people (from our side) have been killed, including six children,” Toubu chief Issa Abdelmajid told AFP by telephone.

He said another 241 members of his tribe have been wounded.

Abdelmajid, a former opponent of Moamer Kadhafi who fought the slain dictator’s forces in last year’s conflict, was previously tasked by the ruling National Transitional Council with monitoring Libya’s southeastern border.

So he was at one point a trusted revolutionary. But somehow his people (presumably dark-skinned southern Libyans ??) are under attack by the Zwai tribe's army (lighter-skinned ??) and the NTC isn't taking the Toubu's calls.
At first, both groups used light arms, but eventually started firing rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns, local sources said.

"I appeal to the international community to intervene and stop these clashes which are aimed at exterminating my tribe," said Abdelmajid.

"We tried calling the NTC but it has not responded," he added.

The NTC probably is on speaking terms with the attackers here, the Zwai people in charge of Kufra. It seems they suspect Mr. Abdelmajid of doing his job backwards, and bringing Africans in instead of keeping them out, and apparently plotting some black-backed Green counter-insurgency.
"People from the Toubu tribe are being helped by foreign elements from Chad and Sudan. We have arrested several Chadian and Sudanese fighters," said Yunus Zwai, spokesman for Kufra local council.

Supporting the impression of a Green resistance in Kufra that's got the Zwai so agitated, reader Sam1 alerts me:
Some members of the green army where in al kufra today as well the green flag was raised and the old athem was also played.
The video (saved): Libya, Al Kufra today - the green lions are back!
From: InomineX
A better posting from "Mutassim Gaddafi's"channel:

Not the best way to avoid being attacked by NTC-affiliated militias.

See comments for more. It's quite possible this is an early event, an angle Petri's looking into. Technical points aside (later...), from the quick view I gave it, it had the feel of people responding in early 2012. But it could be the more fresh defiance of early last year, re-cycled by someone to "explain" the fighting, which could only have so many. Straight-up ethnic cleansing I don't think is it.


  1. Here is a good collection of videos and photographs collected from tweets from both side:
    The Al Kufra Situation - Collected Information

    Note these two videos of the NTC "killing their own people."
    20/02/12 - Military helicopters being prepared in Benghazi before heading to Al Kufra
    20/02/12 - Military helicopters taking off in Benghazi before heading to Al Kufra (Arabic)

    Also note this video witch is the original of the one published by InomineX. It is of far better quality although of equally low resolution.
    21/02/12 - Gaddafi loyalist celebrate the capture of Al Kufra with a parade

    The Media Info on the video says it was encoded on February 20 at 19:17:59 UTC. The time matches the time of day in the video, but I am still not convinced it is from February 2012.

  2. Some interesting background to the situation in Kufra, which somehow strongly contradicts what we are now seeing.

    First a quote from the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Ninth session, Geneva, 1-12 November 2010:

    Summary prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 15 (c) of the annex to Human rights Council resolution 5/1
    Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

    The source for these claims on page 6 is The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP).

    32. STP recalled that massive discrimination of the Toubou minority had been reported from the south eastern part of the country. Some 4,000 Toubou people are living in the town of Kufra, an oasis city of 44,000 inhabitants some 2,000 kilometres from Tripoli. In the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, they were treated as foreigners by the authorities. In December 2007, the Libyan Government withdrew citizenship from members of the Toubou group, stating that they were not Libyans but Chadians. Furthermore the local authorities issued decrees barring Toubou from access to education and health care services. The armed movement “Front for the Salvation of the Toubou Libyans” has opposed these measures and up to 33 people died in Kufra, during five days of fighting between the official security forces and the Toubou in November 2008.

    33. Despite public criticism, the government of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya continues to expel Toubou people from their residential areas in Kufra according to STP. Since November 2009 dozens of families lost their homes due to forced destruction by bulldozers supervised by state security forces. Several dozens of Toubou were arrested because of their opposition against the forced evictions. They only were released after publicly confirming that they would not block any destruction of houses. People who refused to move from their houses were beaten by security officials. Some were notified by the authorities to leave the houses only minutes before bulldozers destroyed their homes. No alternative housing was proposed to the victims of the forced evictions. Furthermore, Libyan authorities refused to renew or extend passports to members of this minority. Several times parents were prevented from registering births of their children and denied birth certificates. According to STP, the Libyan Government is responsible for a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing in Kufra which violates both Libyan and international law.

    Then a quote from Wikipedia from the article on the Tubu people:

    In the Libyan civil war, Toubou tribespeople in Libya sided with the rebel anti-Gaddafi forces and participated in the Fezzan campaign against forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, briefly capturing the town of Qatrun and claiming to capture Murzuk for the rebel movement a month later.

    People denied citizenship? Could these be the same people now described as "Chadian mercenaries"?

    The story is getting weirder all the time. Here is the latest news:
    According to Akhbar Libya, to Kofra, Toubou tribal fighters are assisted by Chadian helicopters.
    The city Kofra is freed from the clutches of the NTC

    The watermarks on the images claim this Facebook page as the source:

  3. @Petri Krohn i don't know if you have this video in that collection. But i did find of al-Kufra from last year take a look
    In South eastern Libya

    1. @Sam1 – Both of these videos are in my al Kufra playlist in their original format:

      الكفره .mp4 (al Kufra)
      Uploaded by Ashweike on Dec 23, 2011

      الشعب المسلح قادم (Armed people coming)
      Uploaded by MutasimGaddafi on Feb 27, 2012

      Here is another video showing Green victory in Kufra:

      بداية الزحف المقدس من الكفرة جنوب الجماهيرية
      (Beginning of the march of the infidels [Kufra] the sacred south of the Libyan)
      Uploaded by imazighentube on Feb 23, 2012


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