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Tripoli 23.07.2014 
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Sherwes Travel

Libya Weekly Security Update

Security Update – 1 July 2014

Clients Travelling or planning travel to Libya should be aware of the increased risk to their safety at this time as jihadist attacks in Libya have increased historically during the month of Ramadan. HNEC claimed final results from 25 June 2014 elections would take between two and three weeks to be released, meaning that the results would likely be announced “in mid-Ramadan”. In Benghazi, the Hifter-backed Benghazi Joint Security Room (BJSR) ordered the evacuation of Benghazi’s Jalaa hospital on 29 June 2014, the same day as three assassinations took place in the city, which continues to indicate the deteriorating security at present.

The Islamic Holy month of Ramadan began on the 29 June 2014. Businesses often reduce hours of operation or open only after sunset. Ramadan is expected to end around the 28 July 2014, with a three- day public holiday celebrating Eid al Fitr. On 27 June 2014 the Interior Ministry claimed that policemen who have been absent from work, moonlighting performing taxi work, but continuing to draw salaries will be sacked unless they return to their posts by the end of Ramadan. It is widely feared that many policemen are concerned for their family’s safety following a spate of assassinations of security personal country wide. The low wages are a further factor behind some cases of absenteeism.

On 29 June 2014 the Libyan High National Elections Commission (HNEC) released the final batch of preliminary results from those areas where voting was possible in election to the House of Representatives, which was carried out on 25 June 2014. During a press conference, HNEC Chief Emad al Seyah told media representatives that the results would be subjected to another two-day internal auditing process, after which they would be open to scrutiny and appeals from candidates and other interested parties for a period of fifteen days. It is only after all these steps have been taken that final results would be released, a process likely to take between two and three weeks, meaning that the results would likely be announced “in mid-Ramadan”. Less than 50% of the registered voters turned out to vote in the elections for the House of Representatives, with the election committee claiming that only 630,000 Libyans cast their votes. Many consider this paltry turnout to reflect the disillusion with the chaos that has prevailed in the country since Gaddafi’s overthrow, with the mood during the election rather glum, particularly in relation to the celebrations which marked the first elections two years ago. Given that the number of registered voters was also less than half of those eligible, the mandate of the soon-to-be-formed House of Representatives is likely to suffer. It is clear that people in Libya have become somewhat cynical about democracy, believing that the real power in the country is invested in the patchwork of militias that emerged both during and after the 2011 uprising, rather than any of the fledgling state institutions. Unconfirmed but initial snapshots of voting patterns are emerging tentatively, with some commentators claiming that Benghazi election results have produced an intriguing mix of federalists, tribal, more Islamist-leaning and more liberal-leaning candidates, with the eternal question remaining whether they can serve the city better. Elsewhere, as it stands, eleven of the 200 seats in the House of Representatives will remain unfilled, the two Amazigh seats in Jadu and Zuwara due to their boycott of the elections, and nine others as a result of security issues in Libya’s restive east. The latter includes three general list seats, three other seats from Kufra, one from Derna and one in al Jmail. Although HNEC had wanted to complete a rerun election in all of those places not able to complete the vote on 25 June 2014, it has since stated that reruns in five places would not be able to be held until “the political and security problems that had prevented them from occurring in the first place are resolved”. It is not expected that the eleven empty seats will stop the soon-to-be-formed House of Representatives from meeting. Following the release of the preliminary results, it has been suggested that the new parliament will have a “more tribal hue” than the General National Congress (GNC) it will replace, which has been so paralysed by partisan squabbling. The rerun polls, held in both Sebha and Murzuk on 28 June 2014, saw no incidents of violence.

Benghazi’s Tibesti Hotel will be the home for the new House of Representatives rather than as earlier reported the Tourist Village in Garyounis, according to the man appointed as head of administration for the new legislature. Speaking after a ceremony in Benghazi on Sunday to launch the new home for the legislature, which most Libyans are now calling “parliament”, Faraj Najm said that the opening would take place in the first week of August. It had initially been suggested that the date should be 1 August, he added, but as this would be a Friday it would probably happen on Sunday 3 August. Referring to the government allocation of 25 million LYD to transform the hotel into a debating chamber, offices and accommodation for the members of the new legislature, he said it would need a lot of work to the hotel the necessary makeover in time.The opening meeting is supposed to include a handover from the General National Congress to the new House. Responding to reports that Congress President Nuri Abu Sahmain had said that the handover would take place in Tripoli, Najm insisted that Benghazi would be the venue, describing Abu Sahmain’s decision as “invalid”. The handover from the NTC to Congress had taken place in Tripoli because that was where it was located, he said. Likewise the inauguration of the Constituent Assembly had been in Beida. A precedent had been established and any members of Congress who did not want to come to Benghazi could stay away, he said. Yesterday’s ceremony marking the move to Benghazi, held in the city’s Fadeel Hotel, was attended by the First Deputy President of Congress, Ezzidden Al-Awami, Justice Minister Salah Marghani, local officials and members of civil society organisations.

Given the attack on security forces on 25 June 2014, “Operation Dignity” strikes are expected to continue this week following the end of Major General Khalifa Hifter’s ceasefire , the air raids in Benghazi’s Tika suburb and those against trawlers and weapons storage depots close the Port of Derna in the Karsa area south-west of the city (20 June 2014). Given the strong rhetoric used in response to the attacks, which have been blamed on Ansar al Sharia (ASS) and its affiliate, Rafallah al Sahati, it is possible that Hifter’s forces will intensify strikes in both sites in the next few days. Since the beginning of Operation Dignity in mid-May 2014, the bulk of military operations focused on the Benghazi area. Hifter is keen on flushing armed Sunni Muslim extremist networks from eastern towns via his current air superiority.

The situation on the ground in Benghazi remains uncertain, as while Hifter’s “Libyan National Army” forces claim to have made substantial gains on Islamist groups, Ansar al Sharia (ASS) has seemingly regrouped in its traditional strongholds in the Sidi Faraj and Hawari districts. Given that these areas have seen some of the heaviest airstrikes and ground clashes, the current situation appears to suggest that a stalemate has emerged, as Hifter’s forces have remained based on the western outskirts of the city, unable to break into the city itself. The area’s most affected by violence related to “Operation Dignity” include: Hawari, Sidi Faraj, Guwarsha districts, Ganfouda, Tabalino, Garyounes, Laithi and Souq Hadiqa. The residential areas surrounding Benina International Airport, from which Hifter’s forces have launched attacks, have also suffered numerous attacks by Islamist forces. The site remains closed as of 30 June 2014.

In an update to the release of two Tunisian diplomats on 25 June 2014 (who were kidnapped in two separate incidents in March and April 2014), both arrived at dawn to Tunis Airport on 30 June 2014 and were greeted by both Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki and Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa. The pair (a Tunisian diplomat and an embassy worker) were kidnapped in two separate incidents in March and April 2014. Mohamed Ben Cheikh, the secretary to the Tunisian ambassador, was abducted on 21 March 2014 from Ain Zara, in the south-east of Tripoli, and Aroussi Gontassi, another staff member at the Tunisian Embassy, was kidnapped from the city on 17 April 2014. The pair were believed to have been taken by the same group, whose demands were never made public, although it has been widely suggested that they sought the release of two Libyans from Derna who were arrested by the Tunisian authorities in 2011.

SNE assesses that travel to Libya should be put on hold at present unless for business essential reasons only and advises that stringent security and travel management plans are in place. An itinerary specific pre-travel risk assessment including mitigation measures are recommended. In-country personnel should be confident in their evacuation procedures and crisis management plans and in light of the current situation these should be checked and updated where necessary. Crime remains one of the biggest risks to foreign personnel operating on the ground and the risk is assessed to be at its highest in outlying areas of the cities, particularly after last light when travel is not recommended. Car Jacking’s are on the rise and we advise clients to look closely at their method of travel within Tripoli using alternative routes, timings and vehicle’s where possible.

SNE can assist clients with pre entry risk assessments, on the ground physical support, safe discreet transportation, accommodation/business centre and risk management services throughout the region with villas and offices in both Tripoli & Benghazi

 
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Plasma Hotel**** - Tripoli
This very luxurious hotel is located just steps from Tripoli International Fair and a short walk to the city centre (Martyre Square). The hotel boasts wonderful views of the Tripoli city.
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Bab El Bahar Hotel**** - Tripoli
Bab El Bahar hotel is situated in the financial district of the city of Tripoli, it over looks the coast of the Mediterranean.
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Awal Hotel**** - Tripoli
Awal hotel is a new boutique hotel in Tripoli and with its central location, it offers the very best in modern hotel comfort. WELCOME!!!
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Four Seasons Hotel (1) - Tripoli
This luxuriously appointed hotel has been designed to reflect the mélange between the modernity and the Libyan traditional hosting.
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Al Khaleej Hotel*** - Tripoli
This charming and affordable hotel with cosy rooms and friendly English speaking staff is an easy stroll to the city centre.
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Al Kabir Hotel**** - Tripoli /Closed for renovation.
Al Kabir (Grand) is a 4 star hotel that is surrounded by gardens and offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea.
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Al Saraya Hotel*** - Tripoli
The hotel enjoys an excellent location, in the town centre, just a few meters from the lovely Avenue Omar Al Mokhtar and is just opposite Tripoli International Fairground.
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Zumit Hotel*** - Tripoli
An ancient 3 star hotel from the Othman period used since it was built as a hotel and as a rendezvous for convey merchants coming from Africa and Europe.
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Tripoli International Hotel**** - Tripoli
This hotel is very nice. It's only been open for a couple of months so it feels very new and clean.
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Thobacts Hotel**** - Tripoli
Thobacts Hotel, located in the heart of Tripoli City, is within walking distance of Tripoli International Fair, Fatha Tower, Martyre Square and Lido beach.
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El Khan Hotel*** - Tripoli
A lovely 16c riad style boutique hotel, very tastefully decorated. The hotel boasts lovely plunge pool and very good restaurant. Perfectly located in the heart of the medina.
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Diplomatic Hotel*** - Tripoli
Diplomatic hotel is a newly opened star hotel and is located in the heart of Tripoli´s commercial center.
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Libya Hotel - Tripoli ***
The central location in one of Tripoli's most dynamic business districts gives you access to reach the Tripoli International Fairground, El Fatah tower and Burj Abu Lila within a few minutes walking distance.
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The Golden Chain Hotel *** - Tripoli
It's a lovely and charming hotel. Only 5 minutes walking distance from Tripoli International Fair.
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Al Okhwa Hotel*** - Tripoli
Al Okhwa hotel is one of the modern hotels in Tripoli and is located in the city centre only few meters from Tripoli International Trade Fair.
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Al Waddan Hotel***** Tripoli
This 5-star hotel is situated in the heart of Tripoli and nestles between the mature trees and shrubs that line the Corniche.
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Al Fousul Al Arbaa Hotel (2) ** - Tripoli
There's an abundance of creature comforts and delights at this centrally located hotel. Close to Tripoli International Fair, Martyre Sqaure and Tripoli's old town (medina).
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Corinthia Bab Africa Hotel ***** - Tripoli
This 5 star hotel is Located in one of the fanciest neighbourhoods in Tripoli.
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Al Kendi Hotel** - Tripoli
It is one of the excellent hotels which is located in the middle of Tripoli city.
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Al Andalus Hotel ** Tripoli
This stylish two-star is located in the city centre of close to businesses, shopping centres and area attractions.
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Assafi Hotel** -Tripoli
The friendly, peaceful 2-star Assafi hotel is ideally located on a small, quiet street and right across from Tripoli International Fair.
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Thuria Hotel *** - Tripoli
Thuria hotel is ideally situated to make the most of any trip to Tripoli.
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Ashajara Hotel*** - Tripoli
Ashajara hotel is a 3 star hotel located in Dahra area, which is in the heart of the city. Its unique location grants the residents an easy access to the Tripoli utilities & services.
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Safwa Hotel*** - Tripoli
SAFWA hotel is a First Class, 3 star hotel that has been uniquely designed in suites. It is located in the the old Italian quarter in the center of Tripoli.
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Zahrat El Khaleej Hotel *** - Tripoli
A charming Hotel that is located in the city centre. The hotel offers a reasonable price for good standard accommodation
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Yousser Hotel Tripoli **
Yousser hotel is located in the Italian old quarter Dahra, close to the Embassy of Italy and Al Wadan hotel.
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Bait Al Sharq Hotel*** - Tripoli
Bait Al Sharq Hotel provides the value for money hard to find in this area.Extremely well located.
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Radisson Blu Hotel***** Tripoli
Coming soon. The hotel is Located in one of the fanciest neighbourhoods in Tripoli. Location: 800 meters from Green Square.
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Al Rayan Hotel*** - Tripoli
New hotel coming soon.
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New hotel
Coming soon.
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New hotel
Coming soon.
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New hotel
Coming soon.
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New hotel
Coming soon.
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Sherwes Travel • P.O. Box 91713 Dath El Emad • Tripoli • Libya • Tel/fax: +218-21-4801370 • Cellphone: +218-925201677
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