This week on the political front has seen the United Nations (UN) special envoy ‘’Martin Kobler’’ call upon the Presidential guard to provide security to various bodies of the Government, including the UN backed Government of National Accord (GNA). In a statement, Martin Kobler said ‘’ I give my full backing to the creation of the presidential guard which will provide protection to state institutions and embassies”. He also went on to say ‘’that now the battle of Sirte is at an end, the economic recovery of Sirte and Benghazi must be a matter of priority’’. Recommendations were also made that the UN mission should return to the Libyan capital.
As the first anniversary of the signing of the Skhirat agreement approaches on 17th December, the outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon warned that the window of opportunity is closing rapidly. Ban has urged all Libyan political actors to pursue national reconciliation in earnest.
It was reported by an Egyptian newspaper that Field marshal Khalifa Haftar had attended a Top-Secret meeting with top military and political figures. Haftar discussed with the officials the latest issues in Libya and how they can continue supporting him in his alleged war on terrorism. Egypt has been clearly identified as a strong supporter of Hafter’s forces as many reports and leaks have shown the country’s involvement in backing Hafter’s air force and also putting experts on the ground in Benghazi and other eastern districts under Hafter’s control.
In the west, Libyan GNA forces backed by US airstrikes have finished clearing the final district of the former Daesh stronghold of Sirte. Fighting has ended in Sirte’s Ghiza Bayriya area, where Deash had been dug in at the end of a battle for the city that began back in May. Although GNA forces have secured all the buildings and streets in the Ghiza Bayriya area, it does not mean the end to the GNA forces operation. ‘’GNA forces still need to secure the area around Sirte’’ a spokesman was reported to have said. This week has also seen dozens of women and children escape from being held captive by Daesh militants. However western officials say that some Daesh militants escaped before and during the battle and they now fear an insurgent campaign from outlying areas of the country.
The capital has remained relatively quiet over the reporting week, however, the gang rape of a woman by members of an unconfirmed Militia has sparked public outrage and has created a growing tide of revulsion across the country. Many demonstrations were held over the weekend within the capital, demanding punishment for the rapists and the restoration of law and order. The Presidency Council responded to the growing public anger and has promised retribution for the rapists and anyone involved in the attack.
The east this reporting week has seen eastern Libyan forces avert an attempted attack on some of Libya’s major oil ports and rival fighters withdraw from the nearby town of Ben Jawad. Spokesman Ahmed Al Mismari said eastern forces had arrested leaders of the rival faction, which had briefly taken control of Ben Jawed. Libyan National Army (LNA) security officials said that they had carried out airstrikes to defend the oil ports that the LNA had seized control of three months ago. Miftah Magariaf, head of the Petrol Facilities Guard in the area, said “terrorist groups” had launched rocket attacks as ground forces advanced but the oil fields had not been affected.
Whilst in the south, a spokesman for the Misratan lead Third Force, who are securing the southern region of Libya, confirmed that the security apparatus in Sabha and its surrounding districts had declared they have raised the alert state for fear of Daesh militants, who had escaped Sirte, as they could possibly venture and regroup in the south region. A later statement was made that ‘’ The Third Force personnel are ready to respond powerfully to any security violations in the southern region’’. A further statement was made denying that Pro Haftar forces of Mohammed Ben Nayel had seized the Barak Al-Shatti military base in the south, saying it is still under the control of its forces as usual.
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