12 February 2013

Libya: Nation Forges Reconciliation in Kufra

Tripoli — Ethnic clashes in southern Libya could be coming to an end after a peace deal brokered by the government in Tripoli.

Leaders from the two largest tribes in Libya's Kufra region met in Tripoli last Thursday (February 7th) for reconciliation talks.

The peace negotiations between the Toubou and Zuwayya tribes were sponsored by Prime Minister Ali Zidan. Ethnic clashes between the two led to hundreds of deaths in south-eastern Libya.

The prime minister said he met with a delegation from each tribe and that they agreed to reconcile, resulting in compensation and repairing the harm done. He pointed out that the first priority of the current government was national reconciliation and mending fences, especially after the revolution that set out to mend internecine issues.

Zidan also stressed the government's commitment to rectifying what had been destroyed by infighting, to taking all measures to maintain security in Kufra and to restore order by rehabilitating security forces from the area.

"We hope that once everyone reaches a state of accepting reconciliation, the government will step in with actions to groom this move," Zidan said in addressing the country.

Zidan's press conference last Thursday was attended by notables from both the Toubou and Zuwayya tribe. Participants in the meeting included Kufra Congressman Senussi al-Qommi from the Zuwayya tribe and Tahar Mokni from the Toubou tribe, himself a congressman representing Qatrun.

Also present were Hamad al-Fkih, a member of the Zuwayya Mediation Committee and head of the Committee of Zuwayya in Ajdabiya, and Barka Wardko, chairman of the Mediation Committee of Southern Toubou for Reconciliation.

They all reiterated their support for the government's successful efforts to make peace.

Congressman Mokni said that a truce had been in place since Ramadan last year. Various committees of reconciliation then met in Kufra, the last of which was a committee of six members from both sides.

Mediation committees from both the eastern and the western parts of the country as well as the Nafusa Mountains also participated in the truce talks.

Congressman al-Qommi said that reconciliation came after efforts were made by departments and committees of political peace from all regions of Libya, as well as the committee on the crisis, which consisted of six members from each tribe.

He also said that this reconciliation would be an achievement for the government if it is committed to its success, while noting that the children of the city have already missed a school year. The university in the city has been shut down due to fighting.

"We trust Prime Minister Ali Zidan, who does not say what he does not do but does what he says," one Toubou tribesman said.

He called on the two tribes in Kufra and throughout Libya "to fear God and mend their issues, as reconciliation is best, and peace is the solution".

"We are all Muslims, Sunnis, Malikis and followers of the Senussi movement," said al-Fikh, a member of the Zuwayya Mediation Committee.

"We all fought under the banner of the Senussi movement against colonialism. We are brothers and share the same loaf of bread and glass of water."

He also noted that the central government was committed to providing funds for restoring security and rebuilding the remote region.

"We can say that we are now in a state of truce thanks to efforts and benevolence, and we will reach peace," al-Fkih added.

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