Libyan Child Survives the Murder of his Parents, Tebu Gunmen Continue their Spate of Violence in Murzuq – Al Marsad

A Libyan couple from the southwestern city of Murzuq were killed in another spate of violence that erupted in a number of neighborhoods in the area. The Libyan Arab man and his wife were shot at close range in cold blood by Chadian Tebu gunmen. This horrific murder comes amidst another wave of escalating violence that swept over the oasis city in the last 48 hours by armed Libyan and Chadian Tebu tribes who took advantage of the recent UN and international statements issued on Murzuq which they considered as a green light to launch more attacks on the local population.

[Libya, 8 August 2019] – The murder of Mohammed Mukhtar Alwa’s family took place on Wednesday morning as they tried to leave the neighborhood of al-Lemgaryef in Murzuq, south western Libya, in search of a safer place.

According to residents of the city, the breadwinner of the family, Mohammed Mukhtar Alwa, and his wife were killed in the vicious attack, while their seven-year-old child miraculously survived.

The 7-year old son of Mohammed Mukhtar Alwa and his wife, both of whom were murdered, survived.

Tebu gunmen intercepted their car and sprayed it with bullets from the front side, directly shooting at the victims, killing the husband and his wife, while the child was later found alive after fleeing the car.

Libyan Arab and Chadian Tebu Gunmen Terrorising Murzuq

Violence has erupted in the south western city since last Thursday when a group of Libyan and Chadian Tebu militants attacked Arab tribal districts in the latest wave of a tribal violence in the city which has witnessed gradual exodus of thousands of residents of Arab descent since 2011. This latest wave was preceded last month by another cycle of violence spearheaded by the South Protection Force elements claiming that they were aiming to regain the legitimacy of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in the city.

Some Libyan Tebu leaders stated that few tribal leaders, led by the former dissident Issa Abdul Majid who is currently working as an advisor for the Presidential Council leader, Fayez al-Sarraj, are igniting sedition, instigating the rest of the tribesmen to take up arms and fight the Arab tribes in an attempt to change the demographic composition of Murzuq.

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Local residents say that this hostile approach by some chieftains of the Tebu, such as Issa Abdul Majid, has inflicted harm not only on the Arab tribes but also on Libyan Tebou local inhabitants who do not support naturalizing the expatriate Chadian Tebu community, or help the African Tebu to settle in Murzuq, under the pretext of increasing population density of the Tebu tribes in the south.

Tebu militiamen

Sources in the city also said that this issue should be addressed through open and frank political and media efforts in order to restore harmony to the tribal mosaic structure of the different social components of Murzuq, instead of resorting to internationalization of the issue by seeking assistance and interference of foreign players and organizations. In fact, many of these foreign entities tend to focus on issues related to minorities and ethnicities as a Trojan Horse that only serves external agendas.

These tribal militants are moving under the cover of the so-called South Protection Force, aligned with the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA), and commanded by the transnational smuggler Hassan Moussa Souki. They represent a mixed tribal force of Libyans and Chadians who are accused of trying to bring about a demographic change to the existing composition of the population in the region in order to be the dominant majority. They seek to alter the demographic structure of the city by bringing in thousands of their fellow Tebu tribesmen across the southern border of Libya, particularly from the Republic of Chad. These allegations were denied by the militants who claim they are fighting for their own survival.

Hassan Moussa Souki

Using the Tebu Militiamen Against the LNA

The Presidential Council, however, does not appear to be interested in the identity of this force. Furthermore, it is quite difficult to have lists of their names because most of them do not have Libyan identification documents at all. What is important for the Presidential Council is that this group is one of the enemies of its main adversary, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, in the South. Forces loyal to the Presidential Council are apparently trying to distract the Libyan National Army (LNA) troops stationed on the outskirts of Tripoli by opening pockets of unrest and violence in the south of the country.

Earlier this week, several men were killed in an airstrike near al-Qalaa neighborhood that was allegedly targeting an armed gathering resulting in the killing of more than 30, while other Tebu leaders and pro-Presidential Council media talked about 40 people. The Islamist Qatar-based Al Jazeera satellite channel claimed that the airstrike targeted a wedding. The identities and nationalities of the dead were unclear, except for 10 who were found to be Libyans.

Chadian dissident, Ibrahim Ibn Omar, posted on his Facebook account the names of the 38 dead due to the alleged airstrike.

A prominent Chadian dissident, Ibrahim Ibn Omar, posted on his Facebook account a list in French language with the names of 38 dead, claiming that they had been killed in the airstrike. He did not however state the nationality of the dead or their identity papers or how he obtained such information in the first place.

The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) did not provide any official data regarding on the matter, which further casts doubt whether those who died in the airstrike, or at least them majority, were were Libyans. It seems that meaning that they were either elements of the Chadian opposition or non-Libyans.

Furthermore, Murzuq Hospital refused to disclose the identities of the victims or disclose their death certificates, including names, surnames, and place of birth, nationality, and cause of death. The Ministry of Health also did not release the names of the victims.

While the identities of those killed in the air strike were not clear, the UK and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, in addition to several Western embassies took the initiative to hastily condemn what happened without revealing the identity of those killed in Murzuq. The pro-Muslim Brotherhood Libya Panorama, and the media arm of the Justice and Construction Party, claimed that the reason for targeting these people in the raid is their refusal to participate in what they call “LNA offensive on Tripoli.”

Immediately after the issuance of these statements of condemnation, several armed Tebu groups began talking about revenge for the nation and started attacking Arab neighborhoods in Murzuq, which led to the displacement of dozens of families, among them the important neighborhood of Addissa, which has already been abandoned, and the district of al-Hurriya where several people were killed in in the last 24 hours and who were identified as Libyans.

Names of Victims at Addissa Murdered by Tebu pro-GNA Militants

Al Marsad identified the names of some of those killed in the Arab neighborhood of Addissa: Rabi Ahmed Mohammed Saleh, Imran Mohammed Ramadan, Sharaf Belaid Suweikin, Khalil Jibril.

Meanwhile, UNSMIL said it recognized the ethnic nature of the ongoing events, or what it called “the local communities” of the city, but some of the Tebu tribes refuse any categorization of the Arab residents as the native population, stating that they (the Tebu) are the indigenous inhabitants while categorising others as African Arabs.

Some of the Tebou leaders talk about their tribesmen being subjected to what they call “ethnic cleansing crimes” in the city, but since they started their attack last Thursday, they ignored the fact that 19 Arab civilians were shot dead by Tebu gunmen based on social profiling even before the airstrike, amid accusations that they are trying to play the ethnic card and which some countries and international organizations utilize to disintegrate social coherence in Libya.

Women in Murzuq Protest Against UNSMIL and the British Embassy

Yesterday, the women who were displaced to Band Lewah neighborhood from Disa and Al-Hurriya neighborhoods after being raided by gunmen, accused the United Nations envoy, Ghassan Salamé, and the British Embassy of encouraging armed groups by criticizing measures taken by the Libyan National Army (LNA) to combat the militants.

Women in Murzuq protesting yesterday against UNSMIL and the British Embassy.

The women in Murzuq said the statements made by Salamé and Britain have emboldened the armed groups who interpreted their statements as international support for their murderous actions. The female protesters also pointed out that while Salamé condemned LNA’s airstrikes against these armed groups, yet he failed to condemn the killing of 19 Al-Ahali civilians which occurred a week before the LNA airstrike against militants in Murzuq.

© Al Marsad English. 2019.

 

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