Weekly Security Report by SNE 23 September 2014

In a recent meeting, The House of Representatives dismissed once again the approval of the proposed cabinet presented by Prime Minister Abdullah al Thinni on 21 September 2014, despite having voted to reaffirm confidence in his position two days earlier. The failure of the Tobruk-based parliament to approve a government has been highlighted by the activities of the Tripoli-based rival government set up by remnants of the disbanded General National Congress (GNC). Meanwhile clashes which broke out on 17 September 2014 between rival tribal groups in the south of the country continued for several days, although it appeared that mediation by tribal elders had secured a prisoner exchange and led to a reduction of tensions.

Over the past two weeks, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Libya, Bernardino Leon, held consultations with a number of Libyan actors from across the country including parliamentarians, political leaders and various civil society personalities. These discussions confirmed that there is a general consensus that the only solution to the current crisis in Libya is through the convening of a political dialogue that leads to an agreement on the institutional framework for and a sound consensus on, the modalities for the continuation of the democratic transition process.

Mediation over the conflict in western Libya disintegrated within a day of beginning, and clashes continued throughout the weekend between military units from the Warshefana tribe and militias allied with the Libya Dawn coalition. Warshefana areas suffered heavy shelling, with medical sources estimating that around forty people, mostly civilians, had been killed between 20 – 21 September 2014. Likewise, heavy shelling of Zawiya was reported, although casualty figures from the western town are unavailable. In Benghazi, fighting in the Benina area to the east of the city has been subdued over the past two days in contrast to intense clashes that continued for several weeks.

On 19 September 2014, however, ten people were killed by assassins, while at least three others survived attempts on their lives. Among the deceased were two prominent youth civil rights activists. Some hopes have been raised, however, regarding the potential for a negotiated political solution, after the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) proposed that delegations from the various conflicting parties would meet on 29 September 2014 for an “initial round of dialogue”. Civil society organisations in Azziziya are calling for an immediate ceasefire and for all parties to allow aid to reach Warshefana areas affected by the recent violence. In a statement released over the weekend, Azziziya civil society organisations said they are following the deteriorating security situation in the Warshefana areas, which has resulted in many civilian deaths, with “great concern.”

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 the hours of darkness 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.

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