Update to LBY29744.E of 14 July 1998 regarding the Warfalah or Wafala tribe; whether members of this ethnic group were involved in a coup attempt against the Libyan government in 1999, and if so, whether they were assisted by members of the Ezentani tribe [LBY40544.E]

According to an assistant professor of political science at the University of Texas in San Antonio, who is also the author of Libya's Qaddafi: The Politics of Contradiction (1997), members of the Wafala tribe held a large demonstration in the city of Bani Walid in 1999, and the regime used the opportunity to arrest people, including officers, claiming that the demonstrators were organizing a coup (4 Feb. 2003). The assistant professor said that the regime also arrested family members of those involved in the demonstration but could not say what eventually happened to those arrested, although he stated that in general, "people are killed or imprisoned for 12 to 15 years before they are tried in court" (ibid.).

The assistant professor could not confirm whether members of the Ezentani tribe were involved in the demonstration, but noted that although the Ezentani and the Wafala do not necessarily have a history of working together, "tribes will form alliances of convenience in order to achieve a balance of power" (ibid.).

Although the U.S. Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000 claims that army units composed of Warfalla tribe members were involved in a 1993 coup attempt (23 Feb. 2001), no additional information regarding an attempted coup against the Libyan government in 1999 could be found among the documentary sources consulted by the Research Directorate. No other recent information on the Warfalah or Wafala ethnic group could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Assistant professor of political science, University of Texas, San Antonio. 4 February 2003. Telephone interview.