The week in review saw a familiar mix of messages as reports at the start of the week suggested Khalifa Ghwell, head of the self-declared government that ran Tripoli until early last year, said in a televised speech that his forces had recaptured some "state institutions" including the ministry of defence and that he had ordered staff there back to work. A statement by supporters of Ghwell said the labour and martyrs' ministries were also under their control. A GNA spokesman said late on Thursday that the move had foundered. "Business in Tripoli is back to usual. There was an attempt to occupy some government buildings but all manoeuvres failed,” The claims and counter-claims could not be independently confirmed, but the incident showed the extreme frailty of the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which has only ever had partial control over Tripoli.
Italy’s new ambassador to Libya presented his testimonial to Presidency Council chairman Fayez Sarraj and then went on to the reopening of his country’s embassy. The embassy reopening added strong symbolism to the visit since Italy is the first country to return its diplomats. One key outcome for Rome is the agreement to draw up a memorandum designed to address the flow of migrants passing through Libya on their way by sea to Italy. Meanwhile, Aid officials say more than 100 people may have drowned off the coast of Libya after a boat carrying migrants capsized. It is thought 110 people were on board and only four survivors have been found. Poor weather conditions have seriously hampered the rescue effort – with eight bodies recovered.
Libya’s economy took a small hit this period as oil production dropped to 655,000 barrels a day due to difficulties including a lack of storage capacity and poor weather. Production had been more than 750,000 bpd over the previous week. The National Oil Corporation (NOC) has decided to inspect all petrol stations across Libya to counter fuel smuggling. Petrol stations will be inspected for pre-set Brega standards and issued with renewable certificates of conformity.
Tripoli and the west has continued with major electricity concerns throughout the week culminating in a total blackout which extended from Libya's western border with Tunisia to the city of Ajdabiya at the weekend. Tripoli and other cities in the west and south have been plagued by repeated and lengthy power cuts for months. The power cut also had a knock-on effect on communications with internet coverage and mobile coverage disappearing. Demonstrations have continued throughout the region as a lack of fuel and cooking gas takes affect during the cold spell. General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) blamed the continued attacks on its power stations and transformers (by armed militias and armed disgruntled citizens).
Rada (Special Deterrence) Force continued its raids conducting a series of clearance operations in the area of Gargarish, Tripoli against alcohol, drugs and prostitution houses. The operation led to the arrest of large numbers of African gangs made up of illegal migrants and confiscated large quantities of alcohol. During the raid, the gangs attempted to impede Rada’s progress by blocking the narrow roads in the area with various barricades, including the use of cars. Heavy gun fire could be heard throughout the clearance.
General Haftar was given a tour of a Russian aircraft carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov, in the Mediterranean on Wednesday, a show of Kremlin support for the faction leader who opposes Libya's U.N.-backed government. During the visit Haftar spoke by video link with defence minister Sergey Shoigu about battling terrorism in the Middle East.
Violent clashes continued to take place this week in Benghazi as LNA warplanes attacked the district of Ganfouda, in the west of the city. Four more members of the Saiqa Special forces, including an unnamed field commander died from shrapnel wounds from the airstrike. Conflicting reports on Sunday reported a fighter jet from Hafter’s forces was shot down over Benghazi as it carried out raids on militant positions. Other reports suggest the warplane had suffered a technical failure with one account saying it had exploded while firing rockets.
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HEAT & Basic Life Support Two Day Training Courses
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