ISIS IN ACTION
On 9 January, Tripoli’s Special Deterrent Force (Rada) announced the arrest of two ISIS fighters – Mohammed Abdullah Balah (Abu Ayoub) and Siraj Khalifa Ali Abdul Rahman al-Jahawi (Abu Huraira) – who confessed to being responsible for the failed Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) bombing in the al-Dreibi District in southwest Tripoli on 6 January. Rada said it received a report about a bag of explosives in al-Dreibi area, and sent an explosives expert to deal with it. The device was reportedly a howitzer tank shell connected to a lightning wire and a mobile phone.
On 8 January, the President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, in a media interview suggested the Nigeria government should be cautious of ISIS fighters masquerading as Nigerian returnees. Ekhomu, a security expert, has said that as a part of the repatriation efforts the Nigerian government must do the “responsible thing” given “there is a high probability that a few of them may be ISIS fighters escaping from Libya, or coming to Nigeria to execute a possible terrorist plot.” Moroccan officials are also concerned about repatriating its citizens who are currently trapped in Libya in case some of those who return have been recruited to ISIS or other extremist groups.
On 8 January, Government of National Accord (GNA) head Fayez al-Serraj met with UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame in Tripoli. The two discussed the latest political developments in Libya including the GNA’s military deployment to Zuwara and the Libyan-Tunisian border at Ras Jedir last week, the UN Action Plan for Libya, and the planned return of displaced Tawarghans to their city south of Misrata in February. Serraj reportedly reiterated his support for Salame’s Libya roadmap leading up to elections.
On 5 January, the German Foreign and Defense Ministries said it completed the destruction of components from Muammar al-Qaddafi’s chemicals weapons programme. In a statement, it said the chemicals were destroyed “successfully and in an environmentally sustainable manner” by a state-owned specialist firm, GEKA, which is based in Munster, south of Hamburg. Libya made a formal request to the UN-backed Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons last year for international assistance to have the 500 tons of chemical weapons removed in case they fell into the hands of extremist groups.
This article was republished with explicit permission from the author.