Weekly Security Report by Janus Global Operations 10 January 2017

2017 should be the year of key decisions and a year for putting the interests of the Libyan people first, stated the UN Special Envoy to Libya Martin Kobler this week.  Asserting that the Political Agreement was the only framework for resolving the crisis in Libya and Libyans alone can decide whether the agreement needed amendment. Kobler said he was convinced that the Libyan people were capable of taking all decisions to achieve peace and a better life. The international community were ready to support the Libyan side.

In a joint press conference, GNA Foreign Minister, Mohammed Sayala and the Italian Interior Minister, Marco Minniti, said that he and the Italian minister discussed and agreed on reopening the Italian embassy on Tuesday so that Italy becomes the first country to resume diplomatic works in Libya in more than 2 years. He added that the Italian Interior Minister, Minniti, also promised to quicken the resumption of allowing Libyans to obtain visas to Italy from the embassy in Tripoli. General Haftar stated “Italy has taken the wrong side in Libya”.

The Libyan economy has seen an improvement as oil production is up to 708,000 bpd, a three-year high. In the same vain, Brega Marketing the NOC’s fuel distribution company, announced that it was increasing diesel distribution by 2.5 million litres in view of the cold weather and power cuts so as to meet increased demand for heating. Following accusations of fuel smuggling from the chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) has removed itself from the Zawiya refinery. A new armed group calling itself the Anti Fuel-Smuggling Brigade has appeared on the scene, stating it will fight fuel smuggling by attacking the tanker trucks carrying oil products to Tunisia.

Within Tripoli power cuts have continued since December lasting up to 8 hours a day which is causing unrest throughout the city during this cold spell. This culminated with several streets being forcibly closed and tyres burned on Wednesday as protesters gathered to demonstrate against the power cuts.

Presidency Council head, Fayez al-Sarraj poured praise on the Rada forces for their raids in several parts of Tripoli on Friday against drugs and weapons dealers and other criminal groups. Conveying his condolences to the family of one of the Rada officers who was killed in Friday’s raids, he added that Rada would continue to have the PC’s full support in cracking down on criminal gangs in the city. The raids had taken part in the Gargarish area of the city where automatic fire and explosions could be heard into early Saturday morning.

Sirte has remained quiet as ISIS clearing operations have come to a close with troops starting to withdraw. De-mining operations are now taking place with reported road closures. Last Tuesday, a civilian shot and killed an ISIS SVIED bomber outside of a mosque in Al Qurdabia which is 27km east of Sirte.

In the east of the country, the Libyan Army reports that a captured militant has confirmed the killing of Wissam Ben Hamid, who was originally the commander of one of the main brigades in the city, Libya Shield No. 1 Battalion. He was widely regarded as one of the most dangerous and ruthless of Benghazi’s Islamist leaders.

On Tuesday, Forces allied to Libya’s eastern government carried out an air strike against a military transport aircraft in the central district of Jufra, wounding the head of the military council. The strike, and clashes that followed raised fears of an escalation in Libya’s central desert region between the country’s two main military power bases. The LNA said one of its fighter jets had struck a C-130 transport plane parked in Jufra that was delivering arms and ammunition but an air force spokesman in Misrata, said the C-130 was carrying a visiting delegation. Chad said on Thursday it was closing down its land borders with Libya, and declared the border area a military zone. Chadian Prime Minister Albert Badake is concerned some isolated terrorist groups have headed to southern Libya, which could be a target to terrorist infiltration.

 

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