Weekly Security Update by SNE 2nd September 2014

Whilst Tripoli seems to be experiencing a relative calming situation given the recent weeks of torment and disruption, Heavy fighting broke out on the coast road to Zawia this morning. First reports suggested that Warshefana militiamen were mounting a counterattack to retake ground they conceded to Libya Dawn forces a week ago. However it was later being reported that Libya Dawn militias were assulting Warshefana positions.

It is not yet clear how much damage has been caused in the renewed fighting, nor how many people have been killed and injured. While the conflict re-erupted in the west of the capital, Dawn leaders were broadcasting appeals for the city’s police to return to their posts to maintain law and order and that they would be assisted in their work by Libya Dawn militiamen.

Elsewhere in the capital, the residential complex of the US Embassy has been occupied by Misrata militiamen, although reports that the militiamen had “stormed and looted” the building were later denied as a spokesperson for the coalition stated they had “secured” the building to prevent it from being looted. Later reports which came in were that the video showed the complex guards and not militia.

Militias have attacked a Tripoli refugee camp in Yarmouk, housing people from Tawargha, a town captured by Misrata militias during the 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi to the east of Misrata. Five residents are reported to have been kidnapped, with tribal elders asking the authorities to hand them back. Journalists are also increasingly a target, with correspondents encouraged to report "good news" and several TV stations ransacked. Two producers from Al-Dawliya TV station have been kidnapped to date.

Heavy fighting has also continued in Benghazi, as the Islamist Benghazi Shura Council coalition has continued to bombard the Benina area in an attempt to dislodge Operation Dignity forces from their stronghold. Numerous Grad missiles hit the airport and at least ten Operation Dignity forces were killed. Local sources in the southern town of Sebha have reported a build-up of militia fighters from the Awlad Suleiman tribe, raising concerns that violence will break out once again.

Libya's elected parliament, the House of Representatives (HoR), asked Abdullah al-Thinni on Monday to form a new government. "The House has reappointed Abdullah al-Thinni today as the prime minister, asking him to form a crisis government within a period of time not exceeding two weeks, the move came as the government said it had lost control of most ministries and state institutions located in Tripoli after rival armed groups took over the capital.

Due to the current ongoing unstable situation within Tripoli, SNE advises that all non-essential expat client personnel and their dependants should consider relocating outside of the country where possible.

Only business essential movements should take place within Tripoli city limits and no movement should be attempted in dark hours or near the area of Tripoli International Airport and surroundings areas which are affected by the ongoing militia fighting.

SNE is advising NO travel should be made to Benghazi until the current situation shows signs of stability.

The British FCO and US State Department are still advising against No travel to Libya and have advised all their citizens to leave the country at the first opportunity available.

SNE remains operational on the ground in Tripoli with our British Country Management Team and are able to support any remaining clients as required, or provide up to date accurate information and analysis on the ever changing situation to those clients who are currently out of country monitoring the situation with an aim to redeploying when the security situation allows.

Before considering travel to Libya, 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.

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