Weekly Security Update

Tripolitania and Tripoli 

Libya’s General Electric Company reported explosions targeting electrical transmission towers on 9 September in the Wadi Mansour area between Tarhuna and Beni Walid. The attacks were not attributed to any particular group.  The Ministry of Electricity was subsequently reported to have requested that the Ministries of Interior and Defence to provide protection for maintenance crews in the area.

The Libya Herald reported the release on 10 September of three Misratans held prisoner in Beni Walid following the intervention of National Assembly Speaker Mohammed Magarief. Three other Misratans remain captive in Beni Walid. Magarief’s visit came after a protest was held at the Rixos Hotel on 8 September.  On 13 September, a third Misratan was reported to have been released from Beni Walid; two other Misratans still remain captive.

Libya Al Youm reported clashes on the morning of 11 September in Sabha between members of the Qadhafa tribe and security forces. Fighting occurred in a number of districts, including in front of the Fezzan Hotel in Al Mahdiya.  Unconfirmed reports claim that the clashes resulted from the death in custody of a Qadhafa tribe member, an accusation denied by the commander of the southern military zone.  On 13 September, Libya’s official news agency, WAL, reported the return of calm to the Sabha area.

On 17 September, the Libya Herald reported that two people had been arrested in Sabha for involvement in a car bombing which took place on 9 September outside of the regional offices of the Ministry of Interior. The head of National Security in Sabha was quoted as stating that the car bombing was not tied to any specific organisation; no injuries were reported.   A recent report by ‘The Atlantic Council’ claimed that since February 2012, factional fighting in and around Sabha had resulted in the deaths of more than 400 people, claiming that besides factional conflict, some fighting was linked to disputes over the control of lucrative smuggling routes.

Clashes were reported in Sirte on 11 September between ‘Qadhafi-loyalists’ and the Martyrs’ of Al Qardabiya Brigade. The clashes were reported to have begun after four cars loaded with fighters attacked the brigade’s headquarters. A separate report had claimed that fifty Qadhafi-loyalists had been arrested at the beginning of September.

Unconfirmed reports claimed that on the night of 10 September, a Qadhafi-regime officer, Colonel Abdul Hakim Ashaabeh was assassinated as he left a High Security Committee (HSC) building in Tripoli.  Ashaabeh was reported to have been at the HSC after being asked to come in for questioning.  On 11 September, a civilian was reported to have been shot and killed as her drove in the Abu Salim district of the capital.

The Libya Herald reported that the High Security Committee (HSC) disbanded the Abu Miliana Martyrs’ Brigade on 15 September. The action followed the arrest by the brigade of two HSC members and the subsequent refusal to release them. The Abu Miliana Martyrs’ Brigade was located in one of Qadhafi’s Revolutionary Committee Centres located in Abu Mishmasha near Bab Al Azizia. Their weapons arsenal was also reported to have been seized by HSC forces.

On the morning of 16 September, the St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church in Tripoli’s Old City was attacked by a number of men who smashed icons in the courtyard of the church, burned Greek and Cypriot flags and attempted to burn the building. While the attack was not directly attributed to any group or organisation, the church is located near the Othman Pasha Mosque, which was attacked on 28 August by alleged Salafists.

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