By Jamal Adel
Tripoli, 5 March 2014:
A truce has been brokered between fighting Tebu and Zwai groups in Kufra where months of clashes have left many dead or injured.
Deputy military commander for Kufra, Miloud Masmous, told the Libya Herald that life was now starting to return to normal in Kufra. The agreement would come into full effect once the Libyan Army’s 319 Brigade, which has been brought in to secure the town, had finished setting up checkpoints and patrols, he said.
The 319 Brigade, more commonly known as the Omar Mokhtar Brigade, arrived in the south nearly three weeks ago to secure crucial water and power facilities at Sarir, to the north of Kufra. Forces entered the town on Saturday, along with the National Reconciliation Committee, to act as buffer between the Zwai and Tebu tribes.
The head of the committee, Mohammed Al-Mubasher, said: “I sensed a genuine intention within all parties to restore normality.” He and added that this had been crucial to securing the peace deal.
Kufra has been plagued by violence and tribal clashes since the revolution. The arrival of Libya Shield in the town in June 2012 to pacify the situation merely exacerbated fighting when the brigades sided with Kufra’s Arab Zwai majority. Since then, the Zwai and Tebu communities have become entrenched within their own neighbourhoods.
Tebu demonstrators began a sit-in at Sarir power station two months ago, forcing its closure. Sporadic fighting in Sarir between the Tebu-manned Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG) from the 25 Brigade and Zwai tribesmen from the 427 Brigade later damaged power lines from the station. This caused power cuts and water shortages elsewhere in the country when the lack of electricity meant some pumps for the Man Made River could not be operated.