20 killed in Libya over monkey attack on girl

Fayez al-Sarraj, Libya leader

Fayez al-Sarraj, Libya leader

Ethnic fighting has left at least 20 people dead in the south Libyan town of Sabha after an incident with a monkey, medical sources say.

The pet monkey assaulted a schoolgirl, leading her family to seek revenge. Three young men were killed along with the animal in initial fighting.

Days of fighting followed between the Awlad Suleiman and Guedadfa groups.

Casualties may be greater as the death toll is reportedly for the Awlad Suleiman group only.

Reports suggest tanks, rockets, mortars and other heavy weapons were used in the fighting, in which at least 50 people were also wounded.

The three men with the monkey at the time of the assault were from the Guedadfa community, the same as the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

It appears the monkey may have pulled off the girl’s headscarf as well as scratching and biting her.

The relationship between the two communities is said to have been strained for many years.

Sabha is a hub for trafficking in migrants and arms in Libya’s often neglected south.

Libya has been wracked by conflict since the Gaddafi was ousted in 2011.