CAIRO – 10 July 2018: Ebrahim Othman, known as the spokesman of the Tebu tribe’s council of elders in south-west Libya, asserted that Qatar backs the Islamists to preserve its influence in the region.
In an interview with Egypt Today, Othman revealed that Libya’s Tebu and Tuareg tribes, the two main ethnic groups in the south west, have rejected Qatar’s mediation to solve the two tribes’ problems, adding that the tribes have solved them without Doha’s intervention.
On the other hand, Othman called on Egypt to stand by the Libyan people, affirming that the south-west region needs support especially from the Egyptian state and people. He added that the sisterly country is welcomed to play a role in the southern region.
Since the murder of former Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011, inter-communal violence has prevailed in the southern Libyan city of Sebha.
Othman said that marginalizing the Tebu tribe and expanding the influence of the Arabic tribe of Awlad Suleiman in the south west has caused a state of instability for years in the region, referring to the war that took place between the two tribes earlier this year in Sebha city, which reportedly caused the death of hundreds of people from the two tribes.
Sebha’s Tayuri district, where the fighting intensified, is home to both Tebu and Tuareg tribes. Tebu and Tuareg had fought each other until a peace deal mediated by Qatar was inked in 2015, two years before four Arab countries including Egypt boycotted the peninsula over charges of “funding terrorism”.
Clashes between the Tebu and Awlad Suleiman tribes have taken place in 2012 and 2014 as well. Mediated by Italy and Presidency Council member Abdel Salam Kajman, a peace deal between the two tribes was inked in Rome in 2017.
Tebu (aka Toubou) is an ethnic group that speaks the Tebu languages. They inhabit parts of the African continent, including southern Libya and northwestern Sudan. The Tebus in Libya represent about 25 percent of the country’s 6.2 million people, according to some reports.
A number of Tebus have clashed with the terrorists who later travelled from Libya to Egypt and killed a number of policemen in Al-Wahat deadly terrorist attack that took place last year. In an interview with Emad al-Din Adib, an Egyptian TV presenter, Abdullah al-Mismary, one of the Wahat terrorists who was arrested by the Egyptian authorities said that the Tebus thought we were smugglers.
The Tebu was ordered by the Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar to guard the borders, according to media reports. Mismary said that his group managed to kill a tebu man and get some of the tribe’s weapons.
Additional reporting by Amr Mohamed Kandil