Weekly Security Update

 By Gary Sandiford, Olive Group’s Dubai based assessments manager.  Olive Group is a leading provider of security and technology solutions and has been operating in Libya since mid 2011.



On the 8 August the National Transitional Council (NTC) handed over power to the new 200-member General National Congress (GNC).  The National Front Party (NFP) leader Mohammed Magarief was subsequently elected as the presiding member and de-facto head of state; following a second round run-off vote which saw him garner the support of the Islamist bloc and many of the independents.

A number of security incidents have been reported in Tripoli, following the 4 August car bomb in the capital.  On 6 August, assailants targeted a US diplomatic vehicle carrying two embassy officials in what appears to have been an attempted carjacking.  The embassy personnel managed to evade the attack without harm.  Local media reported that unknown gunmen attempted to abduct a local journalist as he was leaving the Haroun Hotel in the Al Dahra neighborhood of Tripoli on 9 August and gunmen attacked the al-Fornaj prison in the capital on 10 August, reportedly freeing a number of prisoners following a firefight with guards.  Elsewhere in the west of the country, a number of attacks were reported against electrical transmission stations around Beni Walid and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stated that it would continue to operate in Libya despite the recent attack against its offices in Misratah.

In eastern Libya, the Benghazi Local Council announced the formation of a joint security operations room in response to what it termed the deteriorating security situation in the city.  Gunmen shot dead a high-ranking defense ministry official in Benghazi, the latest in a series of attacks against security officials in Benghazi in recent months.  Libyan Red Crescent officials also stated that the seven Iranian Red Crescent members abducted in Benghazi on 31 July were still being held by Islamic extremists.  Further clashes were reported in the Al Kufra region of southeastern Libya after Tabu fighters attacked a checkpoint on the main route to Chad.  A Tabu leader was also attacked by members of the Arab Zwai tribe to the north of Al Kufra.

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