Yes, you read that title right. It seems a little monkey business can quickly spiral out of control, at least when there are rival factions involved in Libya.
Reuters reports that violent clashes erupted in southern Libya, the city of Sabha, last week resulting in 16 deaths and 50 injuries by the end of the day on Sunday.
What prompted such a bout of violence and destruction? It appears it all started with a monkey getting into a bit mischief, or at least what it thought was just a bit of harmless fun.
According to residents and local reports, the latest bout of violence erupted between two tribes after an incident in which a monkey that belonged to a shopkeeper from the Gaddadfa tribe attacked a group of schoolgirls who were passing by.
The monkey pulled off one of the girls’ head scarf, leading men from the Awlad Suleiman tribe to retaliate by killing three people from the Gaddadfa tribe as well as the monkey, according to a resident who spoke to Reuters.
“There was an escalation on the second and third days with the use of tanks, mortars and other heavy weapons,” the resident told Reuters by telephone, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the denigrating security situation.
“There are still sporadic clashes and life is completely shut down in the areas where there has been fighting.”
It seems the members of the Awlad Suleiman tribe, who violently oppose those who are a part of the Gaddadfa tribe, thought that the owner of the monkey trained it to go and pull head scarves off of young Muslim girls in their faction. This resulted in he killing of 3 members of the Gaddadfa tribe, in addition to the monkey who started it all, which in turn sparkled retaliation on their part.
The fighting has been ongoing for 4 days and continued through the weekend. Although local tribal leaders urged calm, attempts at a ceasefire have thus far failed.
During the latest clashes, which took place in the city center, initial attempts by tribal leaders to calm the fighting and arrange a ceasefire so that bodies could be recovered had failed, residents said.
By Sunday, Sabha Medical Centre had received the bodies of 16 people killed in the clashes and some 50 wounded, said a spokesman for the center.
“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.
So all due to a monkey trying to take a young girl’s headscarf, 16 people have lost their lives, 50 are wounded and more could follow this week. The owners of monkeys in Libya will no doubt have to keep a closer eye on their mischievous little friends.
I’m waiting for the mainstream media to somehow tie this monkey to Donald Trump, claiming that it was seen with a Make America Great Again hat and that this could be considered a hate crime. Considering the overreactions in the press over Trump winning the election, a headline such as this wouldn’t surprise me.