Security throughout the rest of the country will remain tentative. There is potential for further clashes in al-Kufra, and the south west near Sabha and the Murzuq oil basin. Smuggling across the western border will also remain an issue, and there is potential for clashes between rival smuggling groups, or with national security forces from Tunisia, Algeria and Libya itself.
The interim government will remain unstable until elections, and there is potential for some members to resign amid the ongoing corruption scandals and following pressure from the National Transitional Council (NTC). Tripoli One security officer was killed and four others – three security personnel and one demonstrator – were injured on 8 May when former rebel fighters protesting outside the Prime Minister’s office in the Tareeg Seka area of the capital began opening fire. AKE sources on the ground reported that former rebel fighters from the Yefren and Galaa areas of Jabal Nafusa entered the premises and began firing. Reports from the scene indicate that the rebels turned up with heavily armed jeeps carrying anti-aircraft guns, and demanded rights and compensation for former rebel fighters.
Members of the national security forces arrived at the location, and AKE sources at the scene indicated that the situation ended and traffic was transiting through the area normally only hours after the initial reports.
In a televised statement Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib branded the attackers “outlaws”, claiming that they intended to take money by way of compensation that they did not deserve.
Personnel should be aware of the risk of further incidents of this nature involving disgruntled former rebel fighters, who feel they are not being properly compensated for their sacrifices during the revolution. Clashes are most likely to occur around high profile government buildings in the city, although regular rallying points such as Martyrs’ Square and major hotels could also see shows of force by the rebels.
The compensation issue has taken on more significance over the last month, since the government ended a controversial programme that provided financial recompense to former rebel fighters. The scheme was marred by accusations of corruption, and so the government cut the payments.
Benghazi Benghazi remains calm, and there have been no major incidents of note over the past week.
However, personnel should be mindful of the risk of demonstrations that can cause disruption in central areas of the city. AKE personnel on the ground have long highlighted the potential for disruption caused by strikes and demonstrations in central areas of the city, a fact that may become all the more apparent in the run-up to elections in June.
Large political gatherings can have the potential for violence, and there have also been a number of small scale bomb attacks at similar events in recent months.
Trial of Alleged Gaddafi Supporters Begins A court in the town of Zawiyah began the first civilian trial of alleged Gaddafi supporters on 8 May. Five men accused of planning to create instability by “terrorist acts” appeared before the court, however the trial was adjourned for a week after a request by defence lawyers. The men were reportedly arrested in Zawiyah, and are alleged to have been planning to carry out terrorist attacks in the country in order to create instability. Some have apparently confessed to fighting on Gaddafi’s side.
Although these are the first trials to take place in Libya, a number of other high profile trials, including that of Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam, could also take place on Libyan soil. This will therefore be scrutinised by international observers keen to know how capable the current legal apparatus is to handle a high profile case. Political Section Finance Minister Hassan Ziglam stated on 10 May that he would soon resign due to the degree of “wastage of public funds” by the interim government. Ziglam cited the now halted scheme to compensate former rebel fighters, as well as the ongoing pressure from them for payment as a major reason for his resignation. A number of demonstrations by former rebels have turned violent as the government has failed to meet their demands for compensation and further employment.
The issue was reportedly the main grievance of former rebel fighters who attacked the Prime Minister’s office in the Tareeg Seka area of Tripoli on 8 May. Similar, although less violent, demonstrations have occurred outside government buildings on a number of occasions, while there have been accusations of corruption inside the interim government, with some of the alleged recipients of money from the now-ended scheme being ineligible.
Some LD1.8 bln (US$1.2 bln) was spent in three months of the programme, and an NTC statement claimed that not only were some of those on the list ineligible, others were also dead.
Meanwhile, interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil stated on 5 May that his doctors had ordered him to rest because of a minor health problem. He also stated that the problem was not serious, and was due to the amount of work that had been required of him during the transition process.
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