By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 7 October 2015:
A major relief convoy for Kufra will remain blocked at Jalu until Tebu demands for . . .[restrict]their own checkpoint gate to the town are met, the Libya Herald has been told by Tebu sources linked to those involved in the action.
The 80-vehicle convoy, organised by the Libyan Red Crescent to take food, cooking gas, fuel and other supplies to the southeastern desert oasis town, was prevented on Monday moving past Jalu, 600 kilometres north of Kufra. It was stopped by Petroleum Facilities Guards from the Sarir oilfield southeast of Jalu. The force is largely Tebu, many of whom come from Kufra.
For the past three months, no goods other than some medical supplies, have been able to get into the town as Tebus demanded that they be allowed to take over the southern checkpoint in the sand wall around it. They stopped using Kufra’s northern gate earlier this year after ten Tebus were allegedly killed in separate incidents there.
The Tebu community in Kufra say they want control of the town’s southern gate so that they can access places such as the Tebu town of Rebyana in safety.
Over the past three years, recurrent clashes between the minority but militarily powerful Tebus and the Zwai majority have left hundreds dead, with efforts to mediate a permanent settlement between the two constantly ending in failure.
Even so, today, mediators from the Magharba tribe met with Kufra Tebu elders in a latest bid to bring peace to the Kufra and ensure that supplies to it start flowing again.
Tensions remains high there, however, following the attack two and a half weeks ago by a force largely made up of Sudanese Darfur rebels supposedly allied to the Tebus.
On 20 September, members of the Darfuri Justice and Equality Movement, together with local and Chadian Tebus launched a six-hour assault on Kufra, including on the northern gate. The battle ended with the Sudanese being forced to withdraw, with one of JEM’s leaders killed as were several Tebus and Zwais including a senior Zwai militia commander. He has been named as Tawfik Al-Shuwashin. Some 13 of the attackers’ 40 vehicles were also destroyed. The attackers’ aim, according to an informed local Zwai, was to take the main military base in the town and, with it, control Kufra. [/restrict]