|North Western: This last week has witnessed some high profile events, firstly the elaborate kidnapping of the Jordanian ambassador to Libya Fawaz al-Itan's on Tuesday 15th April. The masked gunmen reportedly shot and wounded the driver of Ambassador Fawaz al-Itan's car as they snatched the diplomat from a street in the capital Tripoli. The kidnappers made their demands in a call to the ambassador's own cell phone, which was left behind in the car after the abduction. The Tunisian embassy to Libya has reportedly halved its current staff within the last week due to the kidnapping of Aroussi Gontassi who was an advisor to the Tunisian embassy. It is thought that a large number of congress members are continually pursuing the replacement of Abdullah Al-Thinni who was sworn as the interim Prime Minister on 8th April following threats to step down unless granted increased powers however he announced five days later that he regretted accepting the job, and that he would stand down when congress elected a replacement and that he would not present it with a new cabinet, as requested by congress. Within the north west of the country, various different groups have also blocked oil installations on-and-off during the same period, demanding more minority rights or calling for amendments to electoral laws.
Eastern: Libyan voters went to the polls on Saturday to elect municipal council members in 15 cities including Benghazi the country's second city, which is seeking greater autonomy for the eastern seaboard region. Benghazi has until now had only ever had an interim council with piecemeal funding from central government, but the election is meant to pave the way for fuller and more regular allocations, potentially improving the volatile city's relationship with Tripoli. The recent polling did not come without incident including two improvised explosive devices (IED’s) which were contained and defused outside the central election polling station in Benghazi. Elsewhere within the city the kidnapping of Mohammed Bin Issa Al-Sharis a Libyan national university student on 17th April only raised the awareness of high profile well organised kidnappings which more often than not result in high ticket ransom releases. Mohammed Bin Issa Al-Sharis was released following an elaborate demand for 1 million LYD reduced to 150,000 LYD. The eastern Benghazi airport has now reopened and is currently receiving international flights.
Southern: Rival forces in the south are continuing to engage in sporadic fighting, which the Islamist militants are exploiting to their advantage, and gaining a stronger hold in this area due to the weak government forces. Western countries are pledging support by training new Libyan forces, but it could be several years before they are strong enough to work without the Militia’s. The Armed clashes in Sabah climaxed on Sunday evening leaving two dead.
SNE assesses that travel to Libya is still possible but advises that stringent security and travel management plans are in place. An itinerary specific pre-travel risk assessment including mitigation measures are recommended. Travel to desert and border areas, between cities and major urban centres including Benghazi and many other hot spots in the eastern region of the country will require additional security support. In-country personnel should be confident in their evacuation procedures and crisis management plans. Crime remains one of the biggest risks to foreign personnel operating on the ground and the risk is assessed to be at its highest in outlying areas of the cities, particularly after last light when travel is not recommended. SNE can assist clients with pre entry risk assessments, on the ground physical support, safe discreet transportation, accommodation/business centre and risk management services throughout the region with villas and offices in both Tripoli & Benghazi.