The situation within the Oil and Gas sector remains confused with the Government holding to a confident line that the strikes and disruptions that have been plaguing this vital area of Libya’s prosperity have been resolved with the reopening of three key ports. Meanwhile the ports of Es Sider, Ras Lanuf and Zueitina remain closed with al Jathran, the leader of the Cyrenaica regional autonomy movement, being very clear that they have not reached any meaningful agreement with the Government despite Ali Zeidan’s best efforts in the past two weeks of sustained negotiations. The disruptions have now been ongoing for over 3 months. Tripoli has been hit by petrol shortages this week with some petrol stations having to close for lack of fuel. It appears unlikely that there will be an upsurge in Libyan oil exports any time soon.
The security situation within the country has been quieter this week but Derna in the east has continued to be unstable with a number of security-related incidents occurring. A senior officer working within the port Customs department has been assassinated this week in the town and a bomb targeting a school that was being used as a polling station also detonated causing extensive damage. The town is well-known for the influence of extremist Islamists within it.
The targeting of security personnel in Benghazi has also continued this week with further assassinations of servicemen in the city.
Finally, it was reported that Libya has blocked a UN plan to use some 200 UN badged military personnel to guard its staff and facilities.
Tripolitania (Western Libya)
There were two massive controlled explosions this week outside Misrata that destroyed 50 tonnes of munitions. The munitions were gathered by MAG and Handicap International from the surrounding area around Misrata following a comprehensive clearance operation over a number of months. This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the national munitions clearance requirement, which is likely to take years to achieve regardless of the security environment allowing it to take place.
Cyrenaica (Eastern Libya)
On Wednesday 11th December Colonel al-Dellal, a senior Customs official at the port in Derna was shot dead outside his home in the east of the town. The school that was blown up in the town on the same day was being used as a polling station.
Separately on the same day an Air Force Non-commissioned Officer was abducted on his way to work in Benghazi. His whereabouts remain unknown as is the motive behind the attack other than it may form part of the sustained campaign by Islamists to attack the formed security forces.