At least 16 people have died after clashes erupted between two Libyan tribes over an attack by a monkey, according to reports Sunday.
The clashes were triggered in the southern Libyan city of Sabha after a pet monkey of a shopkeeper from the Gaddadfa tribe pulled off the headscarf of a girl from the Awlad Suleiman tribe. This led the men from the latter tribe to kill three people from the Gaddadfa tribe and the monkey, Reuters reported citing a local.
“There was an escalation on the second and third days with the use of tanks, mortars and other heavy weapons,” the local told Reuters. “There are still sporadic clashes and life is completely shut down in the areas where there has been fighting.”
The clashes also injured 50 others. The Sabha Medical Centre received the bodies of the deceased, according to a spokesman for the facility.
“There are women and children among the wounded and some foreigners from sub-Saharan African countries among those killed due to indiscriminate shelling,” he said.
Both Gaddadfa and Awlad Suleiman tribes are powerful groups in Sabha, which is often plagued by violence. The area is also known for smuggling of arms, refugee trafficking, and several illegal activities.
The initial attempts by the tribes’ leaders to reach a ceasefire also failed, according to locals.
Like other places in Libya, Sabha too has seen a rise in conflict since Moammar Gadhafi’s regime was toppled in 2011.