SNE Expats who visited Benghazi in the last week reported that most major road junctions and arterial routes through the city have a heavy police/army presence, however despite these regular attacks and killing of senior military/police figures continue with under vehicle IEDs and close target assassinations on lower level police checkpoints and individuals. On the 14th February a civilian Head of Security and his driver from Libyana telecoms were shot and killed in Dubai Street on the way to work. The Deterioration in security has also led to the Benghazi medical centre and Al Jalla Hospital closing all but A&E departments in protest that they cannot protect their staff correctly. On the 16th February a Libyan Military Helicopter crashed near the coastal town of Essider having departed Benghazi Benina Military Base on an undisclosed mission, all five crew were killed. Following the GNC Transition period elapsing and showing the strong feelings that Benghazi authorities hold for the GNC Extension three congress members were refused to allow to board a flight to Tripoli to attend parliamentary hearings as the Benghazi Airport authorities stated they couldn’t be members of parliament as “Libya has NO Parliament currently”, they were released after several hours detention but still not allowed to fly to Tripoli.
The Situation in the Capital is somewhat better than the rest of Libya, there is still relative calm following the ousting of the Militias from their commandeered compounds and with most major roads having Checkpoints the Military appear to be able to lock down the city quickly in emergency. There were calls for protests in Martyr Square when the GNC extended the countries Post Revolution Transition period for another year to give them time to form a new committee and government and hold elections, but reports vary. Between 200 and 1500 people protested peacefully. There were strong rumours of a pending Military Coup on Saturday 15th when Maj General Khalifa Haftar, a well respected Military man ( retired from Operational duties) broadcast on Libyan TV that he believed his “road-map” for Libya’s future should involve the suspension of parliament and the Military to rescue the country. He was very careful not to say he planned a Coup, but he was however arrested some time later, PM Ali Zeidan emphasised that it was not a coup attempt and that the current Army chief Abdelsalam Jadallah has voiced his support for the GNC. On the 15th there was a Mass Breakout from Zlitan Jail and 90+ inmates escaped. Yesterday the 17th February was the 3rd Anniversary of the Revolution. Countrywide and certainly in the capital big celebrations took place and were peaceful and joyous occasions.
The reports we have received for the area of Sebha in the South is no change, there is still sporadic fighting between rival tribes and the peace that was brokered by Zintan and Misrata Militia Members has broken down. There is little or no news leaving the area.
SNE assesses that travel to Libya is still possible but advises that stringent security and travel management plans are in place. An itinerary specific pre-travel risk assessment including mitigation measures are recommended. Travel to desert and border areas, between cities and major urban centres may require additional security support. In-country personnel should be confident in their evacuation procedures and crisis management plans. Crime remains one of the biggest risks to foreign personnel operating on the ground and the risk is assessed to be at its highest in outlying areas of the cities, particularly after last light when travel is not recommended. SNE can assist clients with pre entry risk assessments, on the ground physical support, safe discreet transportation, accommodation/business centre and risk management services throughout the region with villas and offices in both Tripoli & Benghazi.