Now that the Libyan Political Dialogue talks are over, this reporting week saw a press release come out from the United Nations Support Mission Libya (UNSMIL). The statement on the UNSMIL website said that the meetings were held to ensure that there was a continued commitment to implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement signed in Skhirat Morocco last December 17th. The meeting also was in recognition of the challenges to the implementation of the agreement that had led to the deterioration of basic services and necessities of life.
UNSMIL’s special Envoy, Martin Kobler, made his first official visit to the oil crescent of Ras Lanuf. Kobler met with Tribal elders, officials and also arranged to meet up with the head of the Oil Facilities Guard (OFG) Ibrahim Jadhran, to begin talks on the exportation of oil.
Reports came out that the French President Francois Hollande has confirmed that three French soldiers have died in a helicopter crash in eastern Libya. “French forces where carrying key operations against extremists in Libya” Hollande was quoted saying. The statement was released following reports that a Mi-35m attack helicopter had been shot down by the Defend Benghazi Brigade (DBB) militia near Al Magrun, west of Benghazi on Sunday. Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) quickly slammed the presence of the French troops in Libya as a ‘’violation’’ of the country’s sovereignty. This subsequently lead to protests taking place in many areas of the capital, and neighbouring cities.
The Libyan Dinar fell to an all-time low on the black market this reporting week, as it crashed for the first time ever beyond the five dinar to the US Dollar. Tripoli currency exchangers said that at one stage the dollar was quoted at 5.30 for cash transactions and 5.80 for cheque transactions.
Fighting in Sirte continued throughout the reporting week with reports that the Bunyan Marsous Forces (BMF) had suffered heavy casualties due to sniper fire and booby traps, all whilst carrying out a two-pronged attack. It was reported that most casualties had been sustained whilst carrying out assaults on the Hay Dolar district and the Ouagadougou Centre. During the attacks, at least two Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIED) were blown up before reaching their targets.
The death toll since the BMF operation began in May now hovers around 300 with hundreds of wounded, many of them with serious injuries.
The capitals power problems seem to have subsided throughout this reporting week, no power cuts in certain areas had been reported for more than four days. However, the cash flow and subsequent withdrawal of cash continued to be causing major problems to not only the capital but the country as a whole.
The subject of kidnappings within the capital has once again raised its head, with reports coming out that Tripoli is fast becoming the kidnapping capital. Police reports came out that more than a dozen abductions had taken place in the last fortnight. However, the kidnappings appear to be purely mercenary with no political overtones.
Whilst in Benghazi, the Defend Benghazi Brigades (DBB) said the statement of the Presidential Council of the UN-proposed government is “pathetic and shameful” to the sovereignty of the Libyan country, pointing out that it implies a tone of “humiliation and degradation”. In a statement, the DBB denounced the flagrant French intervention in the Libyan affairs and the airstrikes it conducted in cooperation with and in assistance for the renegade General, Khalifa Haftar.
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