This week’s Libya security overview has been dominated by the fallout from an attack outside its borders in Niger that saw Islamists kill 25 on 23rd May through simultaneous suicide bombing attacks on a military base in Agadez and a French uranium mine in Arlit. Responsibility for the attack has been claimed by Mokhtar Belmokhtar but despite that the controversy has been generated by the President of Niger’s claims that the attackers came from Libya. This was refuted as ‘groundless’ by Libya’s Prime Minister.
It will be of comfort to all in the region though that the EU has authorised the deployment of its 110-man team to train and advise on border security. The EU team is expected to deploy in June at the request of Libyan officials. The team will be based in Tripoli with a budget of 30m Euros for its first year.
The General National Congress ratified the nomination of Mohamed Sheikh as the new interior minister in place of Ashour Shuail on 26th May. There likely to be other changes within the Cabinet and wider following ratification of the Political Isolation Bill.
Unrest has continued this week at the Zueitina oil terminal but this was resolved on 27th May with the flow being resumed following an agreement being reached between the Oil Ministry and the Zwaya tribe.
Tripoli has continued to have minor security issues with a number of attacks on the Police and other agencies over the week and the disappearance of a major Tebu tribal leader, who is believed to have been kidnapped from his hotel on 26th May.
Tripolitania (Western Libya)
Drug-related violence occurred this week following raids by the Counter Crime Agency in the Gargaresh district of Tripoli. This has included groups of armed men taking to the streets and barricading the district at night.
Separately the police station in Martyrs Square was attacked on 26th May with one attacker being killed by Police. This was followed by another attack on the station in retaliation of the killing and resulted in the kidnapping of two officers who are still being held. The dead man has turned out to be a member of the Supreme Security Committee but it is unclear to which brigade or militia that he belongs.
The believed kidnapping of commander of Qatrun’s Martyrs Brigade, Alashei Mahdi, in Tripoli has led to protests for his return in his home town of Sebha with members of the Tebu tribe demanding the Government find and return him immediately.
Cyrenaica (Eastern Libya)
Benghazi has been quieter this week and this may have something to do with the arrests following a raid of an armed group in the city on 22nd May. In addition to the arrests a substantial amount of materiel was also seized including anti-tank mines and other explosive-making material.
On another positive note the flows have resumed between Field 103 and the oil terminal at Zueitina following days of protest from local Zwaya tribesman demanding employment as promised by the NOC. An agreement appears to have been reached between the Zwaya and the Ministry of Oil. Local protests at lack of opportunities are becoming a common theme across the critical Oil and Gas sector in Libya.
Fezzan (South-western Libya)
Sebha continues to experience security issues, the latest this week has led to protests from workers following the robbery of LD 2m in transit between the National Commercial Bank and one of its branches in the town.