At least 16 people were killed and more than 50 injured in four days of clashes between rival tribal militias in Sabha, Libya, after a monkey reportedly snatched the headscarf of a tribal girl.
The locals said that the clashes between the tribes began after a monkey belonging to a shopkeeper from the Gaddadfa tribe snatched the headscarf off of a schoolgirl belonging to the Awlad Suleiman tribe. The girl was reportedly passing by the shop with a group of schoolgirls when the incident occurred, according to Reuters.
The incident infuriated the fighters of the Awlad Suleiman tribe who killed three people from the Gaddadfa tribe along with the monkey. Soon after the incident, clashes erupted between the two rival tribes causing 16 casualties.
"There was an escalation on the second and third days with the use of tanks, mortars and other heavy weapons. There are still sporadic clashes and life is completely shut down in the areas where there has been fighting," the agency reported.
A spokesperson for the Sabha Medical Centre said that the clashes went on for four days and by Sunday around 16 dead bodies were received by the facility and around 50 wounded people were brought to the centre for treatment.
The Libyan city of Sabha is located eastern region of the country and is constantly affected by sporadic violence amongst rival tribes. Reports state that the Gaddadfa and the Awlad Suleiman tribes are the most powerful factions in the region. Sabha is also a major hub for illegal activities like refugee trafficking and arms smuggling.
"There are women and children among the wounded and some foreigners from sub-Saharan African countries among those killed due to indiscriminate shelling," the spokesperson said.