Monday, November 25, 2013

Libya updates November 25 , 2013 - Security issues are top line news items of the day from forgotten Libya....


BREAKING NEWS: Zeidan in Benghazi for emergency talks

By Ahmed Elumami.
Zeidan in Benghazi this evening
Zeidan in Benghazi this evening with military commanders (seated) including Abd Nasser Bousnina (left), Wanis Bukhamada (middle) and Chief of Staff Abdulsalam Jadallah Al-Obaidi (right) (Photo: Official Government Facebook page)
Tripoli, 25 November 2013:
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan is in Benghazi for emergency talks with local security heads, following this morning’s violent clashes between Benghazi Special Forces and Ansar Al-Sharia.
Zeidan, who returned to Tripoli from the UK today, flew to Benghazi with a delegation of ministers, a source close to the Prime Ministry told the Libya Herald. These include the Deputy Prime Minister and Acting Interior Minister, Sadiq Abdulrahman, Minister of Justice, Salah Al-Marghani, and Chief of Staff, Colonel Abdulsalam Jadallah Al-Obaidi,
They are understood to be meeting with the heads of the city’s Security Directorate and the Benghazi Joint Security Room, as well as some Benghazi elders.
This is Zeidan’s second visit to Benghazi in a fortnight. On 11 November, he was there to discuss the city’s ongoing security crisis with the Commander of Benghazi Special Forces Wanis Bukhamada and the senior commander of helicopter operations in the east of Libya, Abd Nasser Bousnina.

Benghazi declares three-day general strike

By Libya Herald Staff.
Benghazi and Tripoli, 25 November 2013:
A three-day general strike has been called in Benghazi following this morning’s clashes between members of Benghazi Special Forces and Ansar Al-Sharia that left nine dead and at least 23 wounded.
As the fighting subsided this afternoon, Takbirs (“Allahua Akbar”) could be heard being broadcast from mosques throughout the city to a backdrop of low-flying Air Force jets.
This evening, crowds started gathering outside Benghazi’s Tibesti Hotel to protest against today’s violence, as well the assassinations which have destabilised security in the city for much of this year. Demonstrators declared a complete general strike from today, saying this would continue: “Until Benghazi has been cleansed of Ansar Al-Sharia and all other unofficial armed groups.”
Protestors declared their support for Benghazi Special Forces in the fight against Ansar Al-Sharia but rejected the local council, denouncing it as deceitful and saying its authority was no longer recognised.
The council has apparently since announced three days of mourning during which there would be a general strike. This, it said, would include educational institutions, banks, shops and businesses, although hospitals and food shops would remain open.
Further demonstrations have been reported in other areas of Benghazi.

Ansar Al-Sharia threatens bloodshed in Libya

By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 25 November 2013:
A representative of the Libya-based extremist group Ansar Al-Sharia said today in a live television interview that those who did not comply with Sharia Law would be fought and killed.
During the telephone interview on Libya Al-Ahrar TV, Derna-based militant Mahmoud Al-Barassi declared that anybody against Ansar Al-Sharia was an enemy and said the group would “fight people who seek democracy, secularism, and the French.” He added that the group took its legitimacy from Allah.
He spoke out against the Libyan authorities and said that Libyans “know very well that they chose the wrong people” to rule the country. He called the government, the General National Congress (GNC) and the Libyan Armed Forces “apostates.”
Barassi also accused Prime Minister Ali Zeidan of “knowing nothing about Islam”. He added that the revolution was fought by Libyans while Zeidan was “living among women in a foreign country”.
He was speaking following the clashes last night and this morning in Benghazi between Ansar Al-Sharia and the city’s Saiqa Brigade Special Forces which left at least nine dead and up 50 more injured.
The statement, and the air-time Barrasi was given, provoked an angry response from Benghazi residents and across the country. Feelings are running high against groups that threaten the stability and future of Libya, after the bloody clashes between peaceful protestors and armed militias in Tripoli’s Gharghour district, when 48 people were killed some hundreds injured.
Shortly after the interview with Barassi, former first Deputy President of the GNC Juma Ateega was interviewed by telephone on the same channel. He said Barassi’s comments underlined the seriousness of the threat that Ansar Al-Sharia posed to Libya.
Barassi had, however, given a clear message to all Libyans about who was responsible for the assassinations in Benghazi, Ateega said.
He added that Barassi was “a victim of the Islamist groups in Libya” and suggested that he should read more abut Islam since he appeared to be merely repeating what he had learned.
The belligerent comments by Barassi are thought to have caused huge embarrassment to Ansar Al-Sharia, which is now believed to be trying to mount damage-limitation action.

Ajdabiya “ejects Ansar Al-Sharia”

By Aymon Amzein.
Benghazi, 25 November 2013:
There are unconfirmed reports that people in Ajdabiya today ejected members of Ansar Al-Sharia from the town, while units of the self-styled Cyrenaican Army set up road blocks to stop Ansar Al-Sharia fighter moving from Sirte to Benghazi.
The Libya Herald has been told that an unknown number of Ansar Al-Sharia members was forced out of Ajdabiya. It was not clear where they went.  Meanwhile army forces from the Barga region are reported to have set up their own control points on the Sirte-Benghazi road, at Wadi Ahmar, to interdict the movement of any Ansar Al-Sharia reinforcements towards Benghazi.

Tebu protestors increase pressure on government with more threats

By Jamal Adel.
Tripoli, 25 November 2013:
Tebu protestors from Kufra and Reybana demanding an end to what they claim is the marginalization of their community have said that they will blockade the road between Kufra and Benghazi if their demands are not met when their deadline for government action expires tomorrow.
They have already threatened to blockade the main Al-Sareer electricity station in southeast Libya if their demands for improvements are not met. These include a proper power supply for Tebu-dominated Reybana and a council in Kufra for the town’s Tebu community, separate to the Arab-controlled main council.
The protests have been continuing for the past four days. The demonstators say that the Electricity Minister, Ali Muhairiq, has agreed to provide Reybana with a generator, but that this is not enough.
“It is only the electricity and energy minister who contacted us, and offered a temporary help, but we’re still looking to the Minister of Local Governbment to step in and make a move,” Tebu activist Hassan Truwai said.
The also want to talk to representatives from the Prime Minister.  Last June, Ali Zeidan visited Kufra and promised investment in the town in a bid to heal the deep rifr there between the Tebus and the majority Zway community and ensure stability in the south. Offers of infrastructural developments in its run-down, Tebu-dominated districts of Gadarfai and Shura and scholarships for Tebu children to study abroad have not been realised.
Several of the protesters have said that only by escalating their action will the PM’s office take their demands seriously.

Ajilat goes on strike

By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 25 November 2013:
Ajilat, south-west of Sabratha and 80 kilomtres west of Tripoli, is the latest Libyan town to follow the lead from the capital and strike over the presence of militias and absence of law and order. The local council launched a general strike yesterday in protest at the lack of security in the town.
Despite the arrival of Libyan army and police reinforcements two days ago, “there is widespread insecurity in Ajilat, with abductions and killings by criminals,” a local media activist who wished to remain anonymous told the Libya Herald. “People are getting fed up.”
Six local residents are reported to have been murdered in recent days, allegedly by members of militias. Four of the dead have been named as Mohammed Abdul Majeed Abdullah, Kamal Hamrouni, Mohammad Omar Alsoiei and Walid al-Tayeb Emhemed.
The strike is initially for three days, the Ajilat resident said, but may well be extended.
All public institutions have closed, including schools, banks, and administrative buildings. Bakeries, foodshops, hospitals and necessary public utilities remain open.
On 17 November, the head of Ajilat military intelligence, Yousef Al-Atrash was shot dead when he was in his office in the town.

BREAKING NEWS: Fierce fighting in Benghazi

Libya Herald staff.
Action near Airport Road in this morning
Action near Al Jelaa Hospital this morning
Benghazi and Tripoli, 25 November 2013:
Extensive fighting broke out in the centre of Benghazi overnight between between the army’s Special Forces Saiqa Brigade and Ansar Al-Sharia.  The clashes continue this morning.  It is not clear if any other military units or militias are involved.
The position on the ground is unclear. Some phone calls this morning from the Libya Herald to people in central Benghazi have been punctuated by the sound of heavy gunfire.
Eleven wounded members the Saiqa Brigade have been taken to the city’s Jalaa Hospital, along with three bodies. Other wounded have been taken to Benghazi Medical Centre.  Staff are said to have been reporting for duty to both at around 3 am in response to the violence.
All shops and schools are closed with teachers ringing round telling parents to keep their children away. The streets are entirely empty, apart from the combatants.
A message from Colonel Abdullah Saiti, the head of  Benghazi Joint Security Room, has been broadcast, telling people to stay at home.
The fighting was at its most intense at 6 am this morning according to a military commander.
“It is impossible to ascertain if the fighting is now subsiding” he said  at a quarter to nine this morning.
It is unclear if the clashes were spontaneous or a planned operation. The Libya Herald has been informed that on Friday evening, six members of the Saiqa Brigade were seized by Ansar Al-Sharia. They were said to have been beaten, forced to crawl on their hands and knees and generally humiliated. They were then sent back to their unit. The message would appear to have been that Ansar Al-Sharia could act with impunity and that Saiqa  should not mess with them.

Business and Economic items of note ........

Lufthansa and Austrian set to resume Tripoli flights tomorrow

Tripoli, 25 November 2013: Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines are set to resume their daily flights to the Libyan capital tomorrow, a Lufthansa spokesperson confirmed to the Libya Herald. The airlines suspended all flights to Libya on 18 November on the grounds of the General Strike underway in Tripoli…

Tobruk-Tunis service unaffected by Tripoli events: Tunisair

By Houda Mzioudet. Tripoli, 23 November 2013: The Tobruk-Tunis service has not been affected by the latest Tripoli events, Jalel Ourari, Tunisair spokesman in Tripoli told the Libya Herald. The service started on 13 November and runs two flights between the eastern Libyan town and the Tunisian capital.…