Tag Archives: Benghazi

UN staff killed in explosion

“The U.N. does not intend to evacuate from Libya,” the assistant secretary-general for peace operations, Bintou Keita, told the UN Security Council, which condemned the recent attack in Benghazi, Libya.

A car bomb explosion in Benghazi killed three U.N. staff members and two other mission members on, the United Nations said.The attack came as the United Nations was negotiating a truce in the capital Tripoli, where the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) force launched an military operation in April.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack, a spokesman said in a statement. 

The United Nations gave no further details, indicating some of its casualties had been members working in Benghazi, the. LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari told press two of those killed were guards with the U.N. Libya mission, and 10 people had been wounded, including young children.

The explosion happened in front of a crowded shopping mall and bank. One burned-out U.N. car could be seen in the street.

Around the time of the blast, LNA commander Khalifa Haftar announced a halt to military operations for 48 hours during the Muslim Eid al-Adha celebrations, which started on July 10.

Before the weekend, the government in Tripoli confirmed that they had already accepted a U.N. proposal for a ceasefire during the holiday.

Haftar returned to Benghazi

Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar return to his headquarters in Ar Rajma, after completing the treatment he received at Paris hospital, according to different sources.

The arrival at Benghazi ended the flow of speculations about Haftar’s declining health and problems of succession of power, at least on short term. Surrounded by his generals, Commander appeared on TV energetic and decisive, while delivering his speech to nation shortly after arrival to Benghazi.  However the incident with an abrupt departure for Paris hospital, due to health crisis left unanswered questions of his capabilities to operate as a statesman. The flow of rumors and speculations in aftermath Haftar’s health crisis also indicated the fragility of the political situation in East Libya (Cyrenaica), dependent on physical condition of a single person.

EU expects Libyans to search for compromise

A double attack struck Benghazi deliberately targeting the civilian population and healthcare personnel. The European Union extends its sympathy to the families of the victims and wishes those injured a speedy recovery.

 

Such attacks have not only caused many losses but further threaten, in an already fragile environment, the ongoing work to restore security, stability and rule of law in Libya.

All Libyans deserve to live in peace and security. The European Union reiterates its engagement and support to the inclusive mediation process led by UN Special Representative Ghassan Salamé. As was underlined by the EU Foreign Ministers on 22 January, the European Union continues to work with the UN Special Representative to bring a lasting solution to the crisis, guided by the roadmap he presented, including in the framework of the Libya Quartet together with the African Union and the League of Arab States. The European Union expects all legitimate Libyan actors to rally together towards this goal, showing willingness to compromise and by putting the interests of the Libyan people first.

Libya pipeline blast

Armed men exploded a pipeline pumping crude oil to Es Sider port, cutting Libya’s output by up to 100,000 barrels per day (bpd), military and industry sources claimed.

The state-run National Oil Corporation (NOC) said in statement output had been reduced by 70,000-100,000 bpd. The cause of the blast was unclear, it added.

The attackers arrived at the site near Marada in two cars and planted explosives on the pipeline, a military source said.

Pictures purportedly showing a huge cloud from the blast in central eastern Libya circulated on social media.

The damage was still being assessed, one oil source said. Oil prices rose on the report.

Islamic State fighters had a presence in the area until government forces expelled them from their main stronghold in Sirte a year ago.

The operator of the pipeline is Waha, a subsidiary of the NOC and a joint venture with Hess Corp, Marathon Oil Corp and ConocoPhillips.

Benghazi reconstruction conference in March

Authorities in eastern Libya have announced a conference in March to enforce support to rebuild the country’s second-largest city Benghazi heavily damaged during three years of fighting between Marshal Khalifa Haftar troops and Islamists.

The announcement signals a desire to demonstrate a return to normality in the port, where top military commander Khalifa Haftar declared the end of a campaign to oust Islamist fighters in July.

Clashes have sporadically continued in some isolated areas, while life has returned in the rest of the city, though some districts were almost completely destroyed by shelling and air strikes.

A forum titled “International Conference and Exhibition for rebuilding Benghazi city” will be held from March 19-21, the organizers said in an invitation posted online, adding that a six-day exhibition would be held the same month.

Eastern Libya to launch its coins

Authorities in eastern Libya will circulate their own coins to ease shortages of money, a central bank official said. Another sign of dichotomy in the country that has two rival governments in east and west:  following ancient Cyrenaica and Tripolitania division.

Reportedly the new coins, made in Russia, will join Russian-made paper currency that has already been issued in the eastern half of the country, which is outside the control of the United Nations backing government based in Tripoli in the west.

Libya, once upon a time one of the richest countries in Africa, has faced a sharp decline in living standards since a 2011 NATO supported revolt, ending in assassination of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The two rival governments and an array of armed groups are competing for control.

While the UN-backed government in Tripoli has struggled to control territory and make an impact, the east of the country has a separate cabinet with a prime minister, Tobruk parliament,  and a local branch of the central bank.

The new coins worth one Libyan dinar – about 75 US cents at the official rate but less than 12 cents on the black market – would be valid from November 2, replacing banknotes that are mostly worn out, said Ramzi al-Agha, head of the liquidity committee at the eastern central bank branch.

The coins are copper coloured, weigh slightly more than a two-euro coin or a new British pound and feature a picture of a plant native to eastern Libya’s Green Mountains, with the words “Central Bank of Libya”.

 

Haftar ascending power in Libya

Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar (74) declared his troops had taken full control of Libya’s strategic city of Benghazi from jihad armed groups after a three-year intense military campaign.

“Your army reports you about the liberation of Benghazi from terrorism, about the complete liberation and victory of dignity” – said Haftar in his  TV address to the nation.

The battle for Benghazi between Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and jihad fighters taking over Libya after the assassination of the Colonel Gaddafi, has been at heart of the ongoing conflict in the torn apart African state.

The liberation of Benghazi is a definite step forward towards security and stability in Libya, so much desired by the population, suffering from chaos followed after the regime change attempt by the West. The violent end of Gaddafi provoked a rapid dismantling of existing state structures, however none of the emerging political figures claiming leadership could unite the 250 tribes, leaving Libyan state fractured in three major territories: Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan, invaded by the terrorists from African and Middle East, including Boko Haram and Islmaic State.

A decisive victory of Haftar’s army in Cyrenaica, is also a reinforcement of the the Tobruk parliament, opposing a Western-backed prime-minister of the Government of National Accord – Fayez Al-Sarraj, attempting to stay at power in Tripoli, where up to date the security concerns does not allow the embassies, and international community, supporting him, to return to work.

However, who is controlling Benghazi, controls Libya, – according to an Arab saying: the oil fields, ports, and military bases – Marshall Haftar paves his way to power by military triumphs, but politically stays an enigma, engaging with Russians and Americans in different periods of his life.

A student of a military academy in the USSR, later Haftar lived 20 years in the USA, and reportedly co-operated with the CIA, after they helped him to escape the captivity in Tchad. Nowadays the Marshall is more associated with Kremlin, visiting Moscow twice last year. In January 2017 Haftar had talks on ‘fighting terrorsim’ on the board of the Russian aircraft  carrier ‘Admiral Kuznetzov’, while the vessel passed by Libyan coasts. While the Pentagon is concerned by the contacts of Haftar with Kremlin, Russian experts often underline that Marshall had extensively worked with the CIA. Fluent both in Russian, and English Haftar does not need an interpreter, while expressing his views to superpowers.