ISIS IN ACTION
On 9 January, two ISIS vehicles reportedly set up a temporary checkpoint on the road west of Sirte near Abu Grein, inspecting vehicles and confiscating goods. On 11 January, a would-be ISIS bomber surrendered himself to al-Bunyan al-Marsous (BM) forces after defusing the bomb he was instructed to detonate. It is not at all clear why he did not detonate the bomb or why he would have handed himself in. It may be that he had been coerced into the attack or that there is a considerable element of spin to this report.
On 12 January, an ISIS fighter originally from Sudan was reportedly arrested in Qasr Abu Hadi, south of Sirte, after security forces received information from locals. On 13 January, local sources in the Jufra area reported an ISIS checkpoint set up by two vehicles at the al-Fugha main crossing, where they conducted inspections and searched for specific individuals. On 14 January, BM forces arrested an Egyptian who was allegedly hiding and transporting ISIS fugitives out of Sirte.
On 10 January, UN Under Secretary General Jeffery Feltman visited Libya and held meetings with Government of National Accord (GNA) institutions in Tripoli. In a press conference, Feltman reiterated the UN’s backing of UN Envoy Ghassan Salame’s Libya Action Plan, stating there was a “window of opportunity” to successfully end the transition with the Libyan Political Agreement and that it is the only effective framework capable of doing so. Feltman said the UN would provide technical assistance, but acknowledged the security conditions needed to be good enough to ensure free and fair elections.
As of 12 January, the total number of those registered to vote reached 2,005,814. This figure has surpassed the 1,509,291 registrations for the 2014 House of Representative elections yet remains significantly less than the 2,865,937 registrations for the 2012 General National Congress elections. The Libyan High National Elections Commission has said that registration will continue until 6 February, and that it will be providing an online electronic system for registration overseas on 1 February. Electoral registration numbers surged in December 2017, but have slowed almost to a standstill over the last two weeks.
This article was republished with explicit permission from the author.