Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagour will now attempt to make changes to the cabinet line-up that will be aimed at dampening dissent and providing representation for those factions that were aggrieved at being left out of the last nominations.
Tripoli The authorities thwarted plans for large demonstrations in Tripoli on 28 October aimed at protesting against the presence of largely unaccountable militia groups in the city. Meanwhile, hundreds of people began handing in weapons left over from the conflict, as part of a government drive to reduce the widespread presence of arms throughout the country. Efforts to disarm local militia groups however, will require the efforts of a strong centrally-controlled security force that does not currently exist in Libya.
The widespread presence of weapons continues to be one of the main factors affecting security in the country, with seemingly innocuous incidents having the potential to deteriorate into violence rapidly. AKE personnel on the ground advise expatriates to be aware at all times of the risk posed by weapons in the hands of untrained individuals.
Sousa Four policemen were killed when unknown assailants threw a grenade at a national security checkpoint near the town of Sousa, 200km east of Benghazi on 3 October.
The attack was the latest in a number of small-scale militant attacks in the east of the country over recent months that include the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens. AKE assesses there to be a heightened risk of such attacks in the east of the country, although the majority have targeted government and security personnel and assets, or high profile foreign diplomatic and NGO targets.
AKE advises companies to adopt a low profile approach to security in Libya that mitigates the risk of being singled out by hostile elements known to be operating in the east of the country.
Bani Walid Militia groups operating in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence have positioned themselves outside the former Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid, leading to fears of impending fighting in the area. The move comes shortly after the death of Misrata rebel fighter Omran Shaban, who became famous in Libya for helping to capture Muammar Gaddafi in Sirte. Shaban was held by militia from Bani Walid, and reportedly tortured while in their hands. He later died from his injuries.
At least one person was reportedly killed and ten others were wounded on 2 October in clashes close to Bir Dufan, located around 20km northeast of Bani Walid. Earlier the same day the National Congress issued an ultimatum to the town to hand over those suspected of killing Omran Shaban. Negotiations are ongoing to attempt to resolve the issue.
Political Section Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abushagour stated on 4 October that he had withdrawn his proposed government list after demonstrators stormed the national assembly in protest and politicians voiced their discontent over its make-up. The biggest controversy is likely to be the exclusion of members from the largest bloc in parliament, the liberal National Forces Alliance (NFA). Abushagour stated that he was willing to change some of his nominations.
Abushagour initially nominated his government on 3 October for approval by the newly elected General National Congress. The line-up included a large number of new faces, with some of those major figures expected to retain their positions not re-appointed. The exclusion of the NFA was potentially an attempt to prevent any one party appearing to dominate the transition process. Appointments were also clearly aimed at providing regional representation, with three prime ministers, from the western town of Zintan, the east and from the south.
It also included a number of members of the Muslim Brotherhood's Justice and Construction Party, which came second in the recent parliamentary elections with 17 seats, behind the NFA's 39. Protestors from the western town of Zawiyah entered the assembly building and protested against the lack of representation for their town. A number of candidates were put forward for oil minister and lost out to the unknown Mabrouk Issa Abu Harroura. The incident highlights the difficulties faced by Abushagour in pleasing all parties and regions with his choice of government, while still picking the right people to tackle the myriad of challenges facing it.
Elsewhere, the man nominated as defence minister, Abdelsalam Jadallah al-Obeidi, was a former military General from Benghazi who defected early in the uprising. Similarly, he would have been seen as being able to build a bridge to militias in Benghazi, who the government is currently attempting to bring under the national army umbrella or disband entirely.