SNE Weekly Security Summary 17 June 2014

The current tension within Tripoli seems to have eased over the last week. The recent ongoing fuel problems which the Majority of Tripoli experienced would seem to be under ever control of the military and police, fuel shortages are improving with the best availability being on the fringe of the capital.

It has become clear that a number of the more Islamist-inclined representatives at the General National Congress (GNC) are attempting to hold a vote to select a replacement for interim Prime Minister Abdullah al Thinni, despite elections that are intended to be held on 25 June 2014. The attempt comes despite a session following the Supreme Court ruling that the election of Ahmed Miitig as prime minister was unconstitutional, in which representatives agreed to leave al Thinni in the position until a completely new government can be chosen after the general elections. A session was held on 15 June 2014, but due to a lack of a quorum, no vote could be held, and it was agreed that a repeat session would take place on 17 June 2014. It is possible that the GNC in Tripoli will continue to fail to attract sufficient representatives to sessions, as those who support al Thinni appear to be avoiding sessions, and many have moved their base of operations, along with al Thinni and his government, away from Tripoli and to the east of the country.

Troops loyal to a rogue General Haftar launched air strikes against Islamist militia in Benghazi on Sunday 15th June, in what appeared to be a new push into the city itself as part of the Generals ongoing offensive against the fighters.The strikes on Sunday followed a ground assault with infantry and clashes earlier in the day that left five dead. Both actions seemed to be part of a plan by General Khalifa Hiftar and his forces to seize control of the eastern city. Hiftar's forces lost four fighters while a member of an Islamist militia also died in the clashes. Benghazi was deserted late on Sunday, as banks and businesses shut down. The fighting caused power outages in the city, according to the electricity ministry. Communications networks were also disrupted. Hiftar's forces were met by fire from Islamist militias in the neighbourhoods of Siddi Faraj and Qawarsha. It appeared to be the first time Hiftar's forces have made a concerted ground assault on parts of the city. They have previously launched attacks from Benghazi's outskirts and carried out limited air strikes. Sunday's air strikes were carried out using attack helicopters; it was not immediately clear what the specific targets were.Many Benghazi residents, fled areas the city centre and its eastern edges, after Hiftar's forces issued a warning to them. He added that Hiftar's forces had deployed tanks to those areas early on Sunday.

SNE is currently starting to support low level numbers of our international clients returning back to Tripoli, rated as business essential only.  We are also receiving regular information that some of the well-known Hotels which are primarily used by the international ex-pat business community, are beginning to return back to near full capacity.

SNE assesses that travel to Libya should be 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.

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