At least 20 people are dead after a pet monkey was let loose on a young girl by a group of three men.

The girl’s family sought revenge after the girl was bit and scratched last week and all three men were killed along with the monkey.

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But then chaos descended on the city of Sabha, Libya, and many more were killed when it resulted in tribal clashes.

Bader al-Daheli, a civil activist, said that the two main tribes, Awlad Suleiman and Gadhadhfa, are each backed by armed groups. Abdel-Rahman Areish, the head of Sabha hospital, said 20 people have been killed and 50 wounded.

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.

City officials could not be reached to confirm the accounts.

‘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.

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‘There are still sporadic clashes and life is completely shut down in the areas where there has been fighting.’

The Gaddadfa and the Awlad Suleiman represent the most powerful armed factions in the region.

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.

Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 ouster and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Much of the country is effectively ruled by a patchwork of local or tribal militias.