Weekly Security Report by Janus Global Operations 6 December 2016

On the political front Tobruk Airport saw angry demonstrators protesting about UNSMIL Chief Martin Kobler. Reports filtered through that Martin Kobler was in the Airport building and was holding talks with members of the House of Representatives (HoR) headed by its deputy President Emhemed Shouaib. Protester’s held placards outside the airport terminal saying that Kobler was not welcome and that UNSMIL was responsible for the fragmentation of Libya. Later an UNSMIL spokesman denied that any such meeting had taken place.

In an interview, earlier in the week with the Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Faiez Serraj, had admitted that UN backed Government and Presidency Council had failed to make progress since it had arrived in Tripoli at the end of March this year. However, UNSMILS Martin Kobler was quick in his defence and stated that the GNA had wide International support and that forces loyal to it had successfully fought Daesh in Sirte.

For the second time since the summer, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), associated with HoR, once again travelled to Russia. This time to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The Russian Foreign Minister called for Field Marshal Haftar to be part of Libya’s political settlement with all other political forces but would not provide him with arms.

In the west, the battle for the liberation of Sirte by Al Bunyan Marsous (BAM) has continued, however during the reporting week, BAM forces had to suspend the final offensives on the last known Daesh positions. A senior BAM commander said ‘’the operation has been suspended temporarily for the sake of saving the lives of civilians”. During the pause in fighting, journalists reported seeing one women escorting three children through an alleyway towards waiting BAM forces. Shortly after the children were safely driven away, there was a blast as the woman detonated explosives’, injuring around a dozen civilians. This would confirm that the women escorting the children, were using the children as a decoy to detonate the device.

As women, children and some male civilian captives were either escaping or being released from the shrinking area held by Daesh. Reports came in on Monday that BAM forces seized full control of Sirte from Daesh, in a major blow to the extremists who fought for months to retain their bastion.

On Thursday, Tripoli experienced the worst outbreak of fighting in more than a year, as rebel militias battled it out in certain areas of the Libyan capital. The city’s largest and most heavily armed militia groupings formed an alliance against hard-line Islamists militias loyal to rival political authorities. Witnesses on Friday said that gun battles rocked the south-eastern Nasr Forest district and adjacent neighbourhoods and Abu Salim, Hadba districts.  This consequently lead to major roads nearby to be blocked off by shipping containers and sand berm road blocks. Fighting continued throughout out Thursday and Friday However, an uneasy calm descended over the city on Saturday as a successful mediation and ceasefire was called, an agreement made and the areas be handed over to the presidential security personnel of the salvation Government which was later handed over to the Youth and Sports Minister.

Whilst in the east, the Libyan National Army continued to carry out offensives on known militant positions within Benghazi. Thursday saw the Benghazi Medical centre attacked after two explosions were set off causing significant damage to the building. The hospital later released a statement condemning the attack, who they blamed on terrorists. It is believed that this medical centre is where soldiers injured from battles in Ganfouda are being treated. Later reports revealed that the attackers had used a suitcase to transport the explosives to a fifth-floor bathroom. Heightened Security measures have since been put in and an enforced lockdown n procedure to keep all visitors entering the building except medical staff.

 

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