The Provisional Government sent large numbers of motorised militia units from both Misrata and Zintan, supported by Libyan Air Force ground troops, to quell the ongoing conflict between local militias and ethnic Tebu fighters in the region; however, these have efforts have been largely ineffective.
Personnel looking to travel to the region should be aware of the risks posed to foreigners, as well as the inability of the government to respond swiftly and decisively in the event of an incident. Responsibility will fall on a company’s management to have a number of contingency plans in place and local contacts established who could respond to aid personnel in the region.
Inter-militia fighting between groups from Zuwara, Raghdalin and Jamil killed at least 18 and injured over a hundred during the week. 25 Zuwara fighters were reportedly taken hostage, beaten and tortured. Both Raghdalin and Jamail are largely Arab towns, whilst Zuwara is predominantly Berber-affiliated. Clashes in the area have historically occurred over local issues including ethnicity and land rights, but are increasingly framed in a nationalist context; Zuwara fighters were accused of supporting the Gadaffi regime during the latest clashes.
The eastern Libyan border with Tunisia was closed at Zuwara due to the fighting, which could also affect the road to the Tunisian border. Personnel should have alternative overland contingency plans in place should the road be unusable.
The capital remained relatively calm and largely unaffected by fighting around Sabha and Zuwara.
Alan Fraser is a Libya specialist with AKE, a British risk mitigation company working in Libya throughout the crisis. You can access AKE’s intelligence website Global Intake here.