Weekly Security Update

Overview

The continuing impasse and blockade of the Foreign and Justice Ministries has continued for much of this week with accompanying heightened tensions that culminated on Friday with counter demonstrations against the blockades and in favour of the Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan.  This has provided the catalyst for the militias to withdraw, collapse their blockades and tensions have lessened as a result.

There is continuing turbulence within the political classes that has extended wider into Libyan society over the Political Isolation Bill.  The Defence Minister resigned earlier in the week only to rescind it as the Army Chief of Staff was dismissed.

The international community has urged calm and has issued strong advice advising against all but essential travel to parts of Libya and no travel to others currently, together with withdrawing non-essential staff from its diplomatic missions and embassies.  BP has similarly announced the withdrawal of some of its staff until the security situation improves.

Sporadic violence against those associated with the Gaddafi regime and security organs continues in the East with a number of attacks against police stations and targeted assassinations - a trend in recent months.  Today's car bomb outside a hospital in Benghazi that has killed 9 and woundeda further 30 is the most serious attack in recent weeks.  It is too early to know who committed this latest atrocity.

Tripolitania (Western Libya)

The week started in confusion on 7 May with the Defence Minister announcing his resignation over the continued blockading of the ministries and the Political Isolation Bill but he then rescinded it with the Army Chief of Staff being dismissed instead.  General Yusef al-Mangoush had long been accused of not pushing forward hard enough on Security Sector Reform for the Libyan Army and he has paid the price.  The General National Congress (GNC) has been pushing for his dismissal for some time.

The blockades of the Foreign and Justice Ministries continued until Friday 10 May when counter-demonstrations against the militia stranglehold and their intimidation saw some scuffles leading to the blockades ending with the withdrawal of the militias from the two ministries.  Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani announced on Saturday that "those who were at the two ministries have handed over the two ministries to a committee formed by the government and the General National Congress and have now departed."   Staff at both the ministries have now returned to work.

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