Armed violence against civilians and rivals is rapidly rising in the eastern region.
The security environment in Benghazi particularly is gradually worsening as lawlessness expands and local authorities are increasingly unable to enforce law and order or control legitimate force instruments.
The incident and temporary closure of Tubruq port also demonstrates that this lawlessness is starting to impact other cities in the region.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) and parallel government is trying to take decisive measures to address this issue.
On 16 December, the Minister of Interior in the parallel government, Ibrahim Bushnaf, led a large shakeup of security architecture in the eastern region, replacing the local Security Directorate chiefs in Benghazi, Ajdabiya, al-Marj, Sulug Geminis and Awjla al-Jkherra. Bushnaf also replaced the heads of the Border Security Directorate, Interpol Coordination office and the General Administrator of the Ministry.
The increasing insecurity in the East is being driven in part by a perception that the nexus of authority and credibility created over the last few years between LNA head Khalifa Haftar, the House of Representatives (HoR) and the parallel Eastern government, is weakening.
The political bodies are losing legitimacy and international clout, while Haftar’s domestic legitimacy seems to be diminishing as his international influence increases.
The LNA seems increasingly unable to control the behaviour of its own fighters, as exemplified by the video* threatening Misrata.
Benghazi security chief fired due to lawlessness in the city
The Interior Minister of the Interim Government in eastern Libya Ibrahim Bushanaf has fired the chief of security directorate of Benghazi Salah Huwaidi and replaced him with Adel Al-Erifi.
The dismissal decision of Saturday also tasked Huwaidi with a new position – a security chief of Suluq Gaminis; two towns near Benghazi.
Huwaidi was given the sack because of the recent lawlessness in Benghazi with him sitting idly by not caring about the residents’ safety.
The fired chief was appointed last May as he was already occupying another post; the director of general department of criminal investigation.
Benghazi has seen an unprecedented wave of violence and crimes as well as armed robberies by gunmen lately.
Last Thursday, a Benghazi court and Public Prosecution building were attacked by gunmen who wanted to release suspects under trial and interrogation.
In last November, the Interior Minister of the Interim Government gave the green light for using force to foil any armed groups’ attacks on security, police and other governmental buildings after Benina police station was attacked by gunmen to release drug dealers.
Tobruk Port closed on security grounds
A security source at Tobruk’s Port told Libya Observer Monday that the port was closed indefinitely for security concerns.
The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that gunmen stormed the port on Sunday and stole a container packed with blankets.
The gunmen used a generator and a metal cutter to open the container.
The port of Tobruk was closed in October 2017 on the instructions of the so-called Dignity Operation commander Khalifa Hafter but was reopened weeks later under pressure from the city’s residents.