Of wider concern also this week was the statement to Congress by General Carter Ham, Commander US Africa Command based in Stuggart, that the buyback programme for shoulder launched surface to air missiles (MANPADS) had had only limited success and that 1000s remained unaccounted for following the fall of Gadaffi and his regime.
The pattern of lawlessness across the country continues and whilst it is not endemic it is a cause for concern the longer it is allowed to continue. The root cause needing to be addressed is Security Sector Reform with the disarmament of militias and other armed groups to form a structure of well-trained and led state security forces being desperately required. This is not a short-term fix but something that will take a number of years to craft once the government is in a position to enforce its authority. The worry is that without significant support it will be unable to do so and to enforce its will must turn to the militias for support – the very constituency it is seeking to dismantle.
Tripolitania and Tripoli
Part of the EU project to improve Libya’s border security came into place this week with the announcement that Tripoli airport border controls are now linked to Interpol. Although this is but one piece of the border security problem it is a positive one in terms of monitoring those coming in and out of Libya through Tripoli by air. This is against a backdrop that saw the Wazen-Dahiba border crossing linking Libya and Tunisia being closed on Sunday evening following clashes between a group of Tunisian traders and Libyans over petrol and its smuggling.
On Thursday armed men stormed the offices of Al-Assama TV network in Tripoli and smashed equipment and abducted staff, who less 2, were later released. The network has a political affiliation to Mahmoud Shammam. The chairman of Alassema TV station, Juma Osta, and its former manager, Nabil Shebani, who were continuing to be held were released the next day.