Gulf of Sidra, Cyrenaica and Benghazi
Officials attempted to continue the crack-down on drug trafficking, Sirte’s Criminal Investigation Directorate made arrests from 14 to 16 January and seized large quantities of drugs in pill form, in the outskirts of Sirte from cars that had originated from Egypt. High Security Committee (HSC), Shield of Libya, and elements from the National Army raided a drug den in Benghazi’s Al Zawiya neighbourhood on the night of 17 January. The HSC said that it subsequently withdrew its forces after a fire-fight, fearing for the safety of civilians in the area. Several people were reported killed, wounded, or arrested.
The recent spate of attacks against security officials and security locations in the Benghazi area has continued. On 14 and 15 January two police officers were killed in separate bombing incidents within the city. These latest incidents came just days after the murder of a Benghazi CID officer and the much publicised attempted assassination of the Italian Consul General, Guido de Sanctis in Benghazi on 12 January.
On 16 January, Prime Minister Zidan proposed the introduction of a curfew in Benghazi, in an attempt to counter the current levels of violence. Benghazi residents were given the opportunity to consider and respond to the proposed curfew, before the General National Congress (GNC) discusses the proposal.
In a unusual series of events, Defence Minister, Mohammed Mahmoud Al-Bargati accused his recently removed deputy, Siddiq Al-Ghaith, of involvement in shooting incident against his vehicle during his visit to Tobruk Airbase on 19 January. According to Press Solidarity, troops stationed at Tobruk Airbase also staged a demonstration against recent security lapses, demanding that the Ministry of Defence establish a regular military battalion to protect the base.