Weekly Security Report by SNE Special Projects 6 May 2014

North-Western Region: The ongoing current political situation in Tripoli remained vastly uncertain, following several unsuccessful attempts by the General National Congress (GNC) to select a new prime minister to replace Abdullah al Thinni, however on the 3rd May Congress President Nuri Abu Sahmain backed ministerial candidate Ahmed Maetig as prime minister, saying he approved the recently contested vote when he was elected by 121 votes, one more than was constitutionally needed.

An increasing amount of local sources in Tripoli have reported a gradual increase in militia presence over the last week. The recent build-up of militia presence in the capital substantially increases the risk of outbreaks and clashes, as rival groupings struggle to maintain their individual influences in certain areas of the city.

 

Earlier in the week a car exploded in the middle of the road in Salah al-Din, Tripoli killing one and injuring four others. There were conflicting reports regarding the cause of the explosion, one claiming that the driver was carrying a grenade in his car and it accidentally exploded and another report says there's a possibility that an explosive device was thrown by another passing vehicle.

 

On the 01 May, mayors for four of Libya’s new municipalities were sworn in to office. Mayoral elections were held in Nalut and Brak al Shatti around two weeks ago, while Kikla and Traghen held elections in December 2013, delays in vote counting were caused by turmoil in the run-up to the 20 February 2014 Constitutional Assembly elections. Municipal elections are ongoing, elections that were planned for 10 May 2014 in various Tripoli municipalities have been delayed until 17 May 2014, ostensibly as candidates have requested more time for campaigning.

 

Armed clashes in Abu Sleem near Tripoli Airport Road on Thursday morning were reported as a drug raid conducted by security forces took place. Two drug dealers were killed and the Airport Road was temporarily closed. The clashes followed an attempt by forces from the local office of the Counter Crime Agency (CCA) led by the former SSC commander in the district, Abdul Ghani Kikli (better known as Ghenaiwa) to arrest a number of local drug dealers

 

Eastern Region: During the last week aggressive fighting irrupted between suspected Ansar al Sharia gunmen and members of the Saiqa Special Forces in Benghazi during the late-night hours of 01 May. Heavy  Gunfire was heard for more than two hours, following the initial battle gunmen reportedly ambushed a group of four soldiers at a checkpoint near to the security directorate killing them, then went on to attack the directorate itself. Special Forces troops and Navy Marines who arrived to provide reinforcements were ultimately able to repel the assault, but conflicting reports of casualties have suggested that up to six soldiers were killed and another twelve injured during the clashes, while an unspecified number of Ansar al Sharia members were also killed. The incident demonstrates the continued strong capabilities and influence of the militant group in Benghazi.

It is reported that Gunmen fired at Colonel Abdullah Al-Saiti, the head of Benghazi’s Joint Security Room (BJSR), according to BJSR officials, it is reported that Abdullah Al-Saiti had been attending a funeral and was driving along Venezia Street back to the BJSR offices when shots were fired at his convoy. This is the second known attempt against him.

Meanwhile, Benghazi’s security chief, Colonel Ramadan Al-Wahaishi was reported on TV during the last week to have resigned following yesterday’s attack by Ansar Al-Sharia on the police and national security headquarters in which at least nine people died. The resignation is so far unconfirmed although Wahaishi’s home is said to have been one of the places attacked by Ansar Al-Sharia.

Southern Region: The southern area continues to remain unstable with on-going tribal fights and issues with the loose border controls, the AQIM have free passage through most of this region, and still maintain family connections with some of the Tuareg tribes.

On the 2nd May a six vehicle convoy carrying approx twenety armed men were arrested by Algerian special forces on the southern Libya-Algeria border area near Tadrart, it was believed that the 20 men are suspected to be affiliated with terrorist groups active in the Algeria-Libya-Niger desert border 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 including Benghazi and many other hot spots in the eastern region of the country will 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.

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