A number of unconnected incidents in the capital Tripoli underlined the multi-faceted nature of security threats within the new Libya. On 22 July Nabil Al-Alem, Libya’s Olympic committee president, was freed by his kidnappers after being held for seven days. Al-Alem was snatched from his car by gunmen on 15 July in Tripoli. The release seems to have been the result of professional mediation.
Trouble rumbled on in Bani Walid, the former Qadhafi stronghold west of Misratah. Following the successful 15 July resolution of the kidnapping of two Misratah journalists by Bani Walid tribes, Misratans demonstrated on 20 and 21 July for the release of four more Misratans held in Bani Walid. The renewed calls for prisoner releases may lead to another military stand-off between Misratah and Bani Walid militants, and may be resolved by further prisoner exchanges. The incident serves to underline the volatility of many areas within Tripolitania, where Qadhafi-era rivalries and bitter wartime feuds continue to resonate on local security.
In far eastern Libya numerous reported surfaced in the last week concerning the trade of weapons and other contraband across the Egyptian border. Within Egypt the security forces announced numerous interceptions of weaponry and other contraband from Libya including 90 surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, small arms ammunition, two sniper rifles, 1,380,000 doses of Tramadol. The missiles were on a truck driving from Libya to Port Said, probably destined for the international arms market.
The oasis city of Kufrah continues to suffer serious violent clashes between Zwai tribesmen and the Tabu (rival tribes of Chadian rather than Arab descent).
The issue of Libya’s southern borders was a recurrent theme in media reporting and official statements during the last week. Libyan officials (and the local militias controlling the southern towns and road systems) seem focused on the influx of non-Arabs from Chad, Sudan and pan-Sahel countries.