ISIS IN ACTION
On 6 February, a video was published on Libyan social media showing the execution of Libyan National Army (LNA) fighter Suliman al-Hoty. His executioner is reportedly a well-known Islamic State (ISIS) fighter from Benghazi. In the video, al-Hoty is filmed inside a small hole. He tells his captor to ‘end it with honour’ then he is shot dead. The video went viral on Libyan social media sparking a wave of anger against Islamist factions and their supporters. The video is being seen as further proof of cooperation between the Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council (BRSC) and ISIS. This follows the release of a series of videos reportedly found on the phones of dead jihadi fighters after the LNA advance in Ganfuda, which also purport to demonstrate this relationship.
On 4 February, displaced residents of Sirte began returning to the city after the Misratan-led al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) forces gave the all clear. On 31 January, BM published a plan for the return of residents to the city. They divided Sirte into 6 zones. The 700 district, south of the city, is the first return zone. BM forces continued to sweep the area south of Sirte last week for more IEDs and other security threats left behind by ISIS fighters, reclaiming a cache of rockets apparently used by ISIS. BM forces have also been accused of looting and seizing property in the city.
On 2 February, Fayez al-Serraj, Prime Minister of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and Italy’s PM Paolo Gentiloni, signed a Memorandum of Understanding intended to limit the numbers of migrants and refugees travelling from Libya to Italy. The deal includes providing support and training to the Libyan coast guard. On 3 February, during an EU summit meeting in Malta, the EU acknowledged its support for the Libya-Italy deal and pledged $200 million in support of various anti-trafficking activities in the region. The agreement includes a provision to fund and equip existing detention centers affiliated to the GNA’s Ministry of Interior as temporary migrant reception centers, and to provide support to local communities ‘receiving’ illegal migrants.
A number of House of Representatives (HoR) members, including the boycotting member of the Presidential Council (PC) Ali al-Gutrani, officially condemned the agreement. According to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), such international agreements are to be ratified by the HoR. The MoU has also drawn criticism from international organizations due to Libya’s inability to provide the necessary humanitarian support, security or facilities to humanely and legally process refugee claims or migrant repatriation in Libya.
This article was used with explicit permission from the author.
Image: Flickr – Brainbitch