Weekly Security Update

Overview

The tragedy of last week’s car bomb blast outside Benghazi’s Al-Jala Hospital has now been attributed to a tragic accident and not a deliberate targeting.  This, however, has not stopped further violence afflicted Benghazi with 4 further explosions in the eastern city.

Demonstrations have continued at the Zueitina oil and gas terminal over the National Oil Corporation failing to live up to the promises it had made to local people over employment opportunities.  A settlement was reached over the weekend only for fresh trouble to break out at the gas-exporting Mellitah complex where guards were again attacked overnight.   There was no halt in flows unlike earlier in March.

On 16th May the General National Congress went some way to dealing with the large number of armed young men still governing the streets by announcing a funded programme to train some 30,000 in various skills.  Included within it is the intention to send 5,000 per year overseas for further education and training.  This is a major step forward.

Tensions remain high in Misrata with the proposed return to Tawargha of its people.  The Misratans blame the Tawarghas of atrocities during the Revolution when they fought for the regime.  A number of mass graves have since been discovered.  There have been demonstrations both for and against their return.

Tripolitania (Western Libya)

Tension has risen markedly during the week when plans for the inhabitants of Tawargha to return on 25th June were announced.  The Misratans hold the Tawarghas responsible for atrocities during the Revolution.  The Misratans have responded by demonstrating in force and their anger has been heightened further by the discovery of what are believed to be two mass graves near Tawargha.  This resulted in a drive-by shooting on a demonstration by Tawarghas in front of the GNC that left one man wounded.  It is hard to see how an accommodation can be reached between the two sides and the tensions are likely to grow as the return date of 25th June approaches.

The attack on the Mellitah oil and gas exporting complex came yesterday with weapons and vehicles being seized from the guard force.  This time unlike March there was no halt in operations but it is a sign of the continuing insecurity even around Critical National Infrastructure nodes upon which Libya’s prosperity rests.

Cyrenaica (Eastern Libya)

In relation to the 13th May explosion at Benghazi’s Al-Jala Hospital Interior Minister Ashur Shwayel announced that ‘all the signs point to an accidental explosion’; this was followed by Justice Minister, Salah al-Mirghani who stated that whilst it was ‘too early to draw any conclusions among the theories being looked at, there was the possibility that this accident was not premeditated and that the explosion was not intended for this location.’  The latest theory is that the explosives, most likely extracted from land mines, may have been being transported and may have been destined to be used for explosive fishing.  No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion that killed 3 and wounded a further 14.

The demonstrations at the Zueitina complex came to an end with a settlement being reached over the weekend.  The demands are about the lack of local employment opportunities despite pledges from the NOC to the contrary.  This is not the first time that this has occurred and is a sign of the continuing failure to listen to local demands and then bind the local community into the success of the project through sustainable employment.  20% of Libya’s oil exports flow through Zueitina.

On Wednesday a man was shot and killed during a clash at Benghazi’s Alhadek Police Station as he and others attempted to free someone being detained.  The man died later in hospital and this in turn led to a further attack leaving the police station damaged by fire.

There have been four explosions in recent days in Benghazi.  They have occurred outside an abandoned church and then near two Thunderbolt Battalion checkpoints.  There have been some arrests but the incidences were serious enough for the Prime Minister to mention them at a news conference.

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