A home in Kufra ransacked during clashes. Photo posted on June 30.
Located near Libya’s southeastern border, the city of Kufra has been wracked by mounting ethnic violence over the past week, as rival Toubou and Zwai tribes struggle for control over the region. Yet as the rest of the country prepares for historic parliamentary elections this weekend, our Toubou Observer in Kufra says Libya’s interim leaders must withdraw the troops it deployed to the restive city before peace talks can even begin.
A piece of mortar found in a home. Photo published on June 30.
In an attempt to stem the violence, Libya’s transitional government in Tripoli dispatched a peacekeeping “shield” force made up of former anti-Gaddafi rebels from the Benghazi region. But their presence only fuelled the conflict. Many Toubous believed the rebels supported their Zwai rivals, and have criticised their deployment for being illegal.
A cemetery in the eastern city of Benghazi, where "shield" force members killed in Kufra are buried. Photo posted on Facebook July 1.
Toubous are African nomads who traditionally raised livestock in the Saharan border region between Libya and Chad. Along with Berbers and Arab Zwais, they are one of Libya’s three main ethnic groups, although they are in the minority.