Tripti Joshi

Sabha, Libya

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Country  Libya
Region  Fezzan

University  Sabha University
District  Sabha

Map of Sabha, Libya

Sabha or Sebha (Arabic: سبها‎‎ Sabhā) is an oasis city in southwestern Libya, approximately 640 kilometres (400 mi) south of Tripoli. It was historically the capital of the Fezzan region and the Military Territory of Fezzan-Ghadames and is now capital of the Sabha District. Sabha Air Base, south of the city, is a Libyan Air Force installation that is home to multiple MiG-25 aircraft.


Sabha was where the erstwhile ruler of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi had been schooled and where he started his Peoples revolution. After the US involvement in Libya and the resultant instability in the country, Sabha has grown in importance as a slave auctioning town.

07 09 2013 march in honor of the anoud al senussi sabha libya

Massive anti natorebel alliance demonstration in sabha libya on july 8 2011


In historical times, Sabha was a major centre of the Libyan caravan trade. Sabha Oasis, near Sabha, was the test site of OTRAG rockets, after launching was no longer possible in Shaba North in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo). On 1 March 1981 an OTRAG rocket with a maximum height of 50 km (31 mi) was launched. It was also a remote test site for the Soviet Space program from 1984 to 1991.

In a 2004 report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Sabha base was linked with Libya's nuclear weapons program. In September 2011, Anti-Gaddafi forces seized Sabha as part of the Fezzan campaign. No sign of a nuclear weapons program was found.

In April 2017, the BBC reported that there was a slave market for African migrants in Sabha.


Sabha has a hot desert climate.


Sabha is famous for the Fort Elena castle, which is the castle featured on the reverse of the ten dinars banknote of Libya. Fort Elena was previously known as Fortezza Margherita, built during the Italian colonial period. Currently the Italian-built fort is a military institution. The University of Sabha is situated in the city. It has been involved with field studies in the desert. There are numerous irrigation canals, which are used to provide freshwater for growing crops.


The city is served by Sabha Airport, which underwent expansion in the late 1970s. An 800 km (500 mi) long railway has been proposed from Sabha to the port of Misrata for iron ore transport. This railway could continue to Niger and beyond.

Modern day slave auctions

In 2017, The United Nations Migration Agency reported that Sabha had turned into a modern day slave auctioning town. Each slave (mostly migrants from countries to the south of Libya, especially Nigeria) was sold for around US $325, with up to 1000 such sales each month. While this aspect of Sabha had been kept under check during the reign of Muammar Gaddaffi, it raised its head again due to the turbulence in Libya caused by the civil war that ensued after the US/French/British sponsored involvement in the country since 2011. Most of the migrants came here escaping equally tragic conditions back home in Burkina Faso, Nigeria and other neighbouring African countries.


Sabha, Libya Wikipedia

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