Tripolitania and Tripoli
The security situation in the capital remains relatively stable, with no major incidents being reported during the last seven days. The threat of opportunistic crime remains extant, especially in the outlying districts of the city and during the hours of darkness. Spontaneous demonstrations remain likely, especially in the downtown areas of the capital. Protesters were reported to have gathered in Martyrs’ Square in Tripoli on 5 December to demonstrate against the new Ministry of Information, as well as a recent law regulating the right to protest. Protests were reported to have continued on 6 December.
Unconfirmed reports claimed that a number of explosions were heard in Derna on 3 December. One report claimed that the explosions targeted Ministry of Defence offices; however, Press Solidarity indicated that the blasts, in the Bou Mosafir area, destroyed an electrical substation in the area. Press Solidarity also reported protests in Sabha against federalism on 9 December. Demonstrators also voiced their support for the region’s military commander, Abdul Rahman Al Tawil, and the leader of the region’s security operations, Wanes Boukhmade.
Reuters reported that nearly 200 prisoners escaped from a jail in Sabha on 5 December. A Sabha Local Council official later stated that the majority of the prisoners were common criminals. The circumstances behind the escape are still unclear; one report claimed that the escape followed a fight between outnumbered guards and inmates. A separate report by the Libya Herald claimed that inmates may have been aided by the prison guards, which has prompted the head of Sabha’s Judicial Police Department, Colonel Ibrahim Saleh, to appoint a team to investigate the escape.
The Libya Herald reported that a mass grave containing over 100 bodies was discovered on 6 December in Tripoli’s Gergarish district. According to the report, the discovery was made at the Sidi Hamid cemetery as part of a broader search for missing persons killed by the regime during last years conflict.
Press Solidarity reported that the Shield of Libya Brigade secured Mizdeh on 7 December and removed roadblocks set up by local groups on the main road into the town. According to the report, the road blocks had been used for kidnapping, theft, and to open fire on civilians. The brigade has also secured a hospital from armed groups and is providing other general services in the area.
Hashim Bishar, head of the High Security Committee’s (HSC) Tripoli branch, confirmed to the Libya Herald on 9 December that the Ministry of Interior will dissolve the HSC by 1 January 2013. He was reported to have stated that from January; only those members who have signed contracts with the ministry will be paid. According to Bishar, 26,000 fighters are registered with the HSC in Tripoli, but only around 11,000 have actually been working and that around 95% of these members have already signed contracts with the ministry on an individual basis. Bishar also stated that as of January, police stations will operate regularly and that there would be no ground forces supplied from the HSC.