Skip to main content

Libya: Sisters separated during Italian occupation reunited after 94 years

Al-Warfali sisters have not seen each other since they were little girls, and their reunion in eastern Libya's Jalu has been celebrated by their tribe
Al-Warfali sisters meeting on 13 July 2022 after 94 years of separation (Social media)

Two Libyan sisters separated during the Italian occupation were reunited on Wednesday after 94 years.

Oum al-Saad Abdullah Mohammed al-Tabouli al-Warfali, who lives with her family in the town of Bani Walid town, southeast of Tripoli, lost her sister Fatima while escaping Italian forces in the late 1920s.

Italy colonised Libya between 1911 and 1943, during which Italian forces committed massacres and atrocities against Libyans and erected mass detention camps in the desert in an attempt to suppress the resistance movement.

However, Oum al-Saad never lost hope in finding her sister, and her efforts came to fruition this week when they were reunited, amid tears of joy, in Jalu, a small town in eastern Libya where Fatima lived.

The Warfali sisters have not seen each other since they were little girls almost a century ago. The reunion was an occasion for the al-Warfali and al-Majabreh tribes to celebrate in Jalu.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


Oum al-Saad told local media that she knew she had lost a sister in the southern region of Fezzan, who died while fleeing the Italian occupation. But she never lost hope that she would be reunited with her other sister Fatima.

Oum al-Saad had heard that Fatima married into the al-Majabreh tribe and asked about her whereabouts through contacts and members of al-Majabreh until they were reunited.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.