By Mustafa Khalifa and Mustafa Hussein.
Ghat/Sebha, 25 July 2015:
It is reported that a truce has been signed this evening in Sebha between the warring . . .[restrict]Tebu and Tuareg communities. It was brokered by local tribes and those from the north west of the country.
There had been growing hopes during the day that the latest ceasefire in Sebha between Tebu and Tuareg fighters would hold as mediators from western Libya attempted to bring a permanent end to the clashes which in the three weeks since the present fighting broke are thought to have killed over 60 people.
The mediation has been carried out by a number of tribes including the Qaddadfa, the Warshefana, by Gharyan and Amazigh towns in the Jebel Nafusa, Suq Al-Juma and members of Misrata’s Third Force, currently based in Sebha.
Under the deal, all displaced residents in Tiwari district near the airport, are to be allowed to return to their homes as of tomorrow, 26 July, and all prisoners held by either side released. Anyone that breaches the agreement will be held accountable politically, financially and morally by all the mediating parties and negotiations will continue to try and bring about a final peace deal between the two sides.
The clashes, which involved heavy weaponry, have caused substantial damage in Tiwari where previously both communities as well as local Arabs lived side by side in peace. Most residents left as it was impossible for anyone to live there while the fighting was going on. Those who could not stay with relatives have been housed in local schools.
The university and a place on the Obari road locally known as the “India Company have also been scenes of heavy fighting.
The main Tuareg demands in the negotiations, according to Mohamed Musa, deputy leader of the Tuareg Social Council, was that all newcomers to Tiwari leave the area, the Tebus hand over control of the checkpoint at the entry to it, and that an independent peacekeeping force take up positions to ensure that the truce lasts. It is not known if any of these conditions were addressed in the deal.
He had said that the Tuareg would uphold the current ceasefire but would respond if fired upon.
Specific casualty figures in the fighting are not known. Tuareg casualties are taken to Sebha Medical Centre which has reported over two dozen killed. Tebu dead and wounded are usually taken to the hospital at Murzuk.
Increasingly angry local Sebha residents had meanwhile demanded that that the two communities reach a permanent peace deal and that the Third Force police it to ensure it lasts. At a meeting on Thursday, locals said that if the force was unable to do so or cut back on soaring crime then it should leave the southern city. Supported by municipal councillors, they insisted that the Third Force stop gunmen from entering the centre of Sebha and ban all vehicles with tinted windows. They also demanded that local tribes ensure that their militias stay outside the centre of the city. [/restrict]