40 Dead in Libya Ethnic Clashes

40 Dead in Libya Ethnic Clashes40 Dead in Libya Ethnic Clashes

At least 40 people have been killed in a week of ethnic clashes in southern Libya between rival gunmen from the Toubou and Tuareg minorities, a local official said on Wednesday.

The latest fighting centered on the oasis city of Sabha, the largest in the Libyan Sahara, the official said. Hundreds of families have been displaced, he added, France24 reported.

There have been repeated deadly clashes between the two ethnic groups since February.

The Toubou, who mainly live in the southeast straddling the border with neighboring Chad, were heavily discriminated against under autocrat Muammar Gaddafi and fought in the 2011 uprising that overthrew him.

The Tuareg, the dominant group in the southwest straddling the borders with Algeria and Niger, largely backed the Gaddafi regime.

The chaos that has followed the uprising has seen mounting competition for scant resources in the desert south, with Tuareg, Toubou and Arabs all setting up rival militia.

Tensions have worsened since the establishment of rival governments in the capital Tripoli and the eastern town of Tobruk last year.

Islamic State militants have also exploited a security vacuum to expand in Libya, beheading and kidnapping foreigners while also attacking foreign missions in Tripoli and fighting with forces of both governments.