Weekly Security Report 8 November 2016

The political week commenced with the feedback from the meeting that was held in London a few days previous with all parties reiterating that the dialogue was both fruitful and effective. Several issues were addressed in the meeting related to the status quo in Libya and the challenges facing the presidency council and the practical steps to get out of the critical political and economic crisis undergone by the country. The foreign ministers underlined during the meeting the international support to the presidency council and support of the GNA to respond to the needs of the Libyan people.

Libya`s economy was also addressed in London with the NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla calling for funds in the region of $2.5 billion USD to invest in raising its crude oil production to 800,000 barrels per day for next year. At the event, Sanalla listed three major factors on which Libya’s output growth hinges: the ports and pipelines ability to remain open; the lifting of the Riyayna pipeline blockade; and meeting NOC’s budget demands. In addition, the central bank of Libya approved 7 billion Euros for the PC headed by Fayez Al-Serraj in order to provide for the basic needs for the Libyan citizens.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported that a total of 4,220 migrants and refugees have lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe this year, some 725 more deaths than were recorded over the same period in 2015.  This follows the capsizing of two migrant boats earlier this week, leaving an estimated 240 presumed dead after the dinghies on which the migrants were travelling sunk off the Libyan coast.

The two Italian workers and a Canadian kidnapped in south western Libya in September were freed this week and were flown to Italy early on Saturday. Danilo Calonego, Bruno Cacace and Frank Poccia were abducted on 19 September in Ghat by an armed group that blocked the vehicle in which they were travelling. The two Italians were technicians employed by construction group Conicos. Italian Foreign Minister, Paolo Gentiloni said the men had not been subjected to any particular violence and were in good health.

Armed clashes broke out in Tripoli early on Monday morning in the mainly peaceful district of Gargaresh between two rival groups which led to the closing of the main Gargaresh Road for several hours and significant damage to some buildings and vehicles within the area. It is believed that the cause behind the sudden outbreak of fighting maybe a transfer of money from the Bank of Commerce. Reports stated that one of the guys killed by Misratians, who were guarding the bank, was Mostafa Noah’s nephew. This event may have further repercussions in the days to come within Tripoli.

In Sirte, the Misrata forces continued their advance into the last IS strongholds. At the start of the week, the field hospital in Sirte reported that two fighters were killed in the fresh advance on the Jizah neighbourhood, where IS militants are still showing desperate but fierce resistance. The previous day, a senior leader of one of the brigades in Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous operation was also killed in the Jizah clashes. Conflicting reports this week also suggest that the US have ceased their Libya bombing campaign. New orders were issued from U.S. Africa Command to units on 1 November which apparently “ends offensive and collective self-defence strikes”, however, another official report stated more strikes are likely in the coming days.

This week has seen an escalation of attacks in the east with Benghazi still the main focus as General Hafter’s dignity operation forces continue to clear the last pockets of fighters.  According to the Benghazi Shura Council sources, seven airstrikes were conducted on Ganfudah district in Benghazi on Saturday. It also reported that Operation Dignity forces shelled the residential area in Ganfudah

 

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