Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Libya Updates - December 17 , 2013 .....Security or the lack thereof items of interest , petrol shortage in Tripoli finally resolving , economic and political matters of note .......

Militia withdrawal “so slow it has almost stopped”: Elbadri

By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli Local Council leader Sadat Elbadri addressing the local councils' conference (Photo: Aimen Eljali)
Tripoli Local Council leader Sadat Elbadri addressing the local councils’ conference (Photo: Aimen Eljali)
Tripoli, 17 December 2013:
The process or removing militias from urban areas, was going so slowly, that it had almost stopped, Sadat Elbadri, head of Tripoli Local Council, complained to fellow Libyan municipal chiefs in Tripoli today.
Elbadri, told a forum  representing 34 local councils:  “We need the government to solve the problems of citizens as soon as possible. The individual wants to see something tangible achieved on the ground which touches his life.”
He commented that Law 27 for the removal of militias had been implemented too slowly, to the point that it has almost stopped. He added that the presence of heavy weapons has caused social as well as security problems.
The forum, which was attended by delegates from virtually all local councils except Misrata, discussed the general security situation and the need to strengthen border protection.
The council leaders also welcomed the local elections with are now under way on a rolling system which will be completed in February. They called them”an important step to transform revolution into the formation of a state and face future challenges.”

Police officer killed while securing Tripoli petrol 


By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli 17 December 2013:
A police officer was shot and killed early on Monday morning while securing one of Tripoli’s petrol stations.
The officer, Ahmed Hussein Ismail, he was shot at a petrol station near Bab Ben Ghashir as car owners  clashed with police after drivers began trying to force their way into the petrol station.
Mohamed Swesi, a official for Tripoli Security Directorate, told the Libya Herald that Ismail was rushed to Tripoli Central Hospital but was pronounced dead  shortly after arrival.
“Initially, we caught two members of the group that shot Ismail. They are being investigated. Then two other suspects were caught” said Swesi. The type of weapon used in the shooting had still not been assessed, he aid..
Ismail,  in his late twenties, was been buried today in Sidra Cemetery in Tripoli.

End to petrol crisis celebrated

By Aimen Eljali.
Tripoli resident celibate the end to the petrol crisis
Tripoli residents celebrate the end to the petrol crisis (Photo: From Facebook).
Tripoli, 16 December 2013:
The end to Tripoli’s petrol crisis and to long queues was celebrated this evening with dancing in the streets and the sacrifice of a camel at the petrol station in the city’s Zawiat Al-Dahmani district.
The crisis, which reduced traffic on the roads by an estimated two-thirds, has had the police and army deployed to petrol stations to prevent petrol rage incidents, queues of vehicles at stations tailing back up to two kilometres in length and  drivers waiting hours to be served, and black market prices for fuel rocketing.
A camel for sacrifice to celebrate the end of the fuel crisis.
A camel for sacrifice to celebrate the end of the fuel crisis. (Photo: from Facebook)
Queues were noticeably diminishing today but it was still thought that the crisis would last until tomorrow.  The queues were largely good natured, with women drivers often being allowed to the top, and black market prices, massively increased in recent days, were back to normal.
Meanwhile, electricity cuts, although substantially reduced, are still managing to hit life in the capital, but they were not, finally, having any effect at the petrol stations where generators have been installed to enable vehicles to continue filling up.

Medical staff strike in Sebha after patient 

abducted and killed

By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Triploli, 16 December 2013:
Staff have gone on strike at the Sebha Medical Centre after a patient was kidnapped from an operation room today at gunpoint and killed nearby.
Mohammed Abdel Hafiz Busafa, Assistant Director for the Sebha Medical Centre, said that the body of a patient who was being treated for an infected gunshot wound has been found on the steps of a nearby building after unknown gunmen threatened doctors and staff and abducted him while he was under anaesthetic.
Busafa said the kidnapping and subsequent killing had caused “shock and bewilderment” at the hospital and added that medical personnel were in a state of fear. He expressed outrage at the abduction and condemned it as a appalling attack on patients’ rights. Busafa said that the acts of criminals had impinged upon citizens and the provision of medical services.
Patients at the Sebha Medical Centre are currently being referred elsewhere for treatment.

Oil Ministry activates resolutions in support of 

foreign oil companies

By Callum Paton.
Tripoli, 16 December 2013:
The Oil Minister, Abdulbari Al-Arusi, met on Saturday with the Libyan Oil and Gas Council to discuss bolstering support for foreign energy companies operating in the country.
Arusi met with the head of the council, Khaled Ben Osman, and other members including a representative from the eastern region and a number of businessmen from the private sector. They discussed a number initiatives to alleviate the pressure on foreign energy companies.
The meeting decided to activate two resolutions supplying maintenance, transportation and equipment for oil exploration and help foreign companies which have been hit hard by security concerns and blockades on oil and gas facilities.
Arusi said following the meeting that he was convinced of the need to support the private sector and to help it overcome the difficulties it faced. He added that he was ready to support the activation of all resolutions issued in this area to create a healthy environment for the private sector in Libya.
The country is currently producing 224,000 barrels of oil a day, a fraction of the 1.4 million b/d produced before a series of blockades by minority groups flared up in July. Eni, the largest foreign energy company operating in Libya, has seen a slump in its performance with its oil and gas production falling 3.8 percent worldwide in the third quarter of 2013 to 1.7 million b/d, largely as a result of problems in Libya. Similarly Wintershall,  a subsidiary of the German conglomerate BASF, has reduced its presence in Libya to a core staff due to oil blockades on the coast, suspending its onshore production.

Ansar Al-Sharia homes attacked in revenge for 

Benghazi killing

By Noora Ibrahim.
Benghazi, 16 December 2013:
The homes of a number of suspected Ansar Al-Sharia members in central Benghazi’s Ard Zwawa district came under attack today following the murder of a Saiqa brigade member. No one was reported injured.
Mahmoud Al-Fituri died after a bomb blew up under his car. He was rushed to Benghazi’s Jalaa Hospital where his legs were  amputated but he died during surgery.
Following his death, his family mounted the revenge attacks in Ard Zwawiya.
A second member of the security forces was also murdered in the city today. Ahmed Zway was reported shot outside his home in the city.
These latest killings bring the number of security personnel murdered in the city this month to 13.

Constitution pushed back as HNEC struggles to register voters

By Ahmed Elumami and Tooza Hasairi. 
Tripoli, 15 December 2013:
The General National Congress’ Second Deputy President, Saleh Makhzoum, has said that once the elections take place for the 60-member Committee that will devise the new constitution, Congress will cease to exist five months later.
He said that the Committee would take four months to draw up a constitution and there would be another month for the referendum. At that point, Congress’s role would be over and a new permanent legislature could be elected.
The comments are seen as a response to the growing although inaccurate belief that  Congress’ mandate expires on 7 February. The perception is based on the fact that the August 2011 Constitutional Declaration which led to Congress’ election in July last year envisaged a new constitution being ready at the latest by early February 2014 and then, shortly afterwards, its enactment and the election of a new legislature.
Makhzoum’s  timeline is being dismissed as wildely optimistic.
The Higher National Election Commission has been struggling to register voters for the elections to the 60-member committee. The initial date for the end of registration passed yesterday with only  393,522 voters registered, a tenth of those eligible. Registration has been extended until 21 December but there is still a significant disparity in female participation. Tuareg, Amazigh, and Tebu ethnic minorities are also boycotting the elections.
“There needs to be at least one million registered voters and a high turnout otherwise the Constitutional Committee will not be accepted”, a worried election official told the Libya Herald last week,
According to Naima Mohammed Jibril, who helped write the law regulating elections to the 60-member committee, the low turn-out in voter registration has been caused by “a reluctance due to the security situation, the poor performance of congress and government, and political and economic challenges”.
She is also dismissive of Makhzoum’s timescale. It would be impossible for the 60-member committee to draw up the constitution in just four months, she says, even if elections went ahead on time. She explained that once the committee is elected, delays will take place as fierce vested interests play out.