Deadly Clashes Grapple Southern Libya

The Libyan mayhem has reached the relatively peaceful south where rival armed groups in the southern Libyan city of Sabha has left at least six civilians dead and several others wounded, including women and children.

Local media reported that the Libyan National Human Rights Commission confirmed the killing of civilians in armed clashes between the tribes of Awlad Sulaiman and Tabu.

The Mayor of the southern city Hamed Al-Kahyali told Libyan local media that foreign troops are also involved in the clashes, saying that Chadian and Sudanese fighters with their flags were spotted in the attacks against the Libyan Defense Ministry’s Sixth Brigade in Sabha with the aim to control the city and the entire south.

Clashes between the Sixth Brigade, which is attached to the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), and rival fighters from the Tebu ethnic group, started around Feb. 4, said Osama al-Wafi, a spokesman at Sabha’s main hospital.

The fighting has led to fears of an escalation of violence in Libya’s impoverished south, where the LNA has been trying to expand its influence and has clashed with groups aligned with the internationally recognized government in the capital, Tripoli.

The Sixth Division is largely composed of fighters from the Awlad Suleiman tribe. It is loyal to LNA leader Khalifa Haftar, who named new brigade commanders for the division this month.

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