By Imed Lamloum, AFP
TRIPOLI–Libya’s interim government on Saturday announced a cease-fire aimed at ending six days of deadly tribal clashes in a southern desert oasis that cost more than 150 lives. “We announce that reconciliation efforts have resulted in an accord on a ceasefire,” premier Abdel Rahim al-Kib told reporters in the capital, adding that “calm now prevails in Sabha,” 750 kilometers (465 miles) to the south. At least 16 people were reported killed on Saturday alone in and around the oasis city before the truce deal was announced.
The fighting between Toubou fighters and Arab tribesmen erupted on Monday after Arab tribesmen accused the Toubou of killing one of their own. Kib held a joint news conference on Saturday with Yussef al-Mangush, chief of staff of the new Libyan national army that is currently being formed, defense minister Osama Juili and health minister Fatima al-Hamrush. “Now the situation is calm, and defense ministry forces are securing strategic zones and installations, notably the airport,” Mangush said. Hamrush gave a toll of at least 147 killed and 395 wounded by late on Friday. “The number of people killed is 147,” she said, adding that the toll included casualties from both sides. Hamrush said 395 people had been wounded, including 129 who were brought to the capital for treatment. The toll did not include those killed on Saturday — eight on either side, according to sources in Sabha. A doctor at Sabha hospital, treating Arab tribal casualties, said eight people were killed and another 50 wounded in fighting between the early morning and noon. A Toubou tribal source said eight of their people were also killed. “We haven’t slept since yesterday. The Toubou have been attacking Sabha since three in the morning, and they very nearly took the city. All the residents have taken up arms to defend it,” Dr Abdelrahman al-Arish told AFP. Adem al-Tebbawi, a local Toubou official, spoke of eight dead and “several wounded” on his side.