|The news this last week in Libya has been completely dominated by the ongoing situation and stand-off between the government led by Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeg, the GNC and the self-declared leader of the New National Army retired General Khalifa Hiftar and his ‘Operation Dignity’ with its stated aim to rid Libya of all the Islamist terrorist groups.
On the 25 May The GNC pushed through a last minute vote to approve a cabinet led by Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeg`s government which will undoubtably antagonise General Hiftar and his forces and goes directly against what the General stated he required to happened which was for the GNC to stand down and a date for new elections to be confirmed.
Tripoli remains on a high state of readiness with the Misrata Militia now within the city limits at the GNC`s request with a role to protect government buildings and everyone is awaiting General Hiftar`s next move. There have been several minor incidents within Tripoli over the past week with sporadic fighting between the various militia groups, however in general life has carried on as normal.
In the east of the country General Hifter’s Airforce planes have reportedly continued bombing runs over Sidi Faraj destroying yet more weapon stockpiles held by Islamist groups. He said however there was no doubt that extremists were still present in the area, although in fewer numbers. There spokesman said that Operation Dignity was monitoring the Islamic groups in Benghazi saying “We even know their shoe sizes” and also said his forces had a number of ongoing operations and plans but that these could not be divulged to the media.
Benghazi (Benina) International Airport which serves the eastern province has been closed since 16 May due to security concerns and is now expected to remain closed until at least 1 June. Turkish Airways have diverted some of their flights to Labraq Airport which serves the al-Bayda Jabal al Akhdar district around 170km north-east of Benghazi.
SNE assesses that travel to Libya should be put on hold at present unless for business essential reasons only and advises that stringent security and travel management plans are in place. An itinerary specific pre-travel risk assessment including mitigation measures are recommended. In-country personnel should be confident in their evacuation procedures and crisis management plans and in light of the current situation these should be checked and updated where necessary.
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. Car Jacking’s are on the rise and we advise clients to look closely at their method of travel within Tripoli using alternative routes, timings and vehicle’s where possible.
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.