Wednesday 18 October 2017
(Xinhuanet 10/05/17)
IS claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb attack on Wednesday on a court complex in the western Libyan city of Misrata, which killed four security personnel and wounded 21 others. "Dedicated soldiers of the Islamic Caliphate forces stormed the court complex, one of the most important strongholds of the unity government in Misrata," IS tweeted shortly after the attack. The attack was carried out by three IS members at the time when a number of other IS militants were brought to the court complex for trial, sources told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. "Two of the attackers were killed in clashes with the guards of the complex, while the third blew himself up, killing four security personnel and injuring 21...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT.N) plans to spend $50 million over the next five years to add 100 hotels to its chain in Africa, it said on Thursday, joining other chains keen to tap growing business and international travel on the continent. One property will open in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by the end of this year and another in the Rwandan capital Kigali in 2018, it said in a statement. There was 11 percent growth in Sub-Saharan African tourism in the past year, according to data from the U.N. World Tourism Organisation. Hilton said the remaining additions to its 39 existing African properties would be operational within the next five years. “The model of converting existing...
(APA 10/05/17)
APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) - The African Union (AU) will on Thursday endorse reports and recommendations on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARWE) made by experts and senior officials in a meeting held on Monday and Tuesday. The endorsement will take place during the ministerial session of the AU’s Specialized Technical Committee on ARWE that opened on Thursday in Addis Ababa under the theme “Improve environmental sustainability and transform agriculture to ensure food and nutrition security.” These include policy papers and reports on agriculture, rural development, water and environment and recommendations and guidance on issues in the 2063 Africa Development Agenda, including agriculture, environment, climate change, and youth engagement. Among the points chosen for the discussions are the assessment of...
(AFP (eng) 10/04/17)
At least four people were killed Wednesday in an Islamic State group suicide bomb attack at the main court building in Libya's third-largest city Misrata, security officials told AFP. The officials said a suicide bomber was able to detonate an explosive vest inside the building in the centre of Misrata, a coastal city about 200 kilometres (125 miles) east of Tripoli. "Three men belonging to the Islamic State jihadist organisation carried out a suicide attack against the court complex in Misrata... killing four people and wounding 15 others," General Mohammed Ghassri, a spokesman for armed forces in Misrata...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/04/17)
TRIPOLI/LONDON (Reuters) - Production at Libya’s giant Sharara oilfield resumed on Wednesday after an armed brigade forced a two-day shutdown, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said. Operations at Sharara, which is crucial to a partial revival of Libya’s oil output, have been repeatedly disrupted this year due to blockades by armed groups, protests and security problems. As production resumed, the NOC lifted force majeure on loadings of Sharara crude from Zawiya port, where the tanker Seaways Hatteras was due to load a 130,000 tonne cargo, according to shipping fixtures and a Libyan oil source. Sharara, which the NOC operates in partnership with oil companies Repsol, Total, OMV and Statoil, was shut on Sunday night by an armed group called Brigade...
(AFP (eng) 10/04/17)
British foreign minister Boris Johnson came under fire Tuesday for saying Libya could become a magnet for tourists and investors -- if it can "clear the dead bodies away" first. Reflecting on his August visit to Libya, strife-torn since the toppling of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, Johnson said British businesses wanted to invest in the city of Sirte. "They have got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte into the next Dubai," he told Conservatives attending the party's annual conference in Manchester, talking up its "bone-white sands, beautiful sea" and "brilliant young people". "The only thing they have got to do is clear the dead bodies away," he added, before laughing. Johnson's political career has been characterised by outspoken...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/04/17)
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Gunmen killed at least three people and wounded 35 on Wednesday in a suicide attack on a court complex in the Libyan city of Misrata, officials and a witness said. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement run by the group’s Amaq news agency it had targeted “one of the most prominent strongholds” of Libya’s U.N.-backed Government of National Accord. An armed coalition led by forces from Misrata under the GNA’s nominal command battled for more than six months last year to oust Islamic State from the militant group’s former stronghold in the coastal city of Sirte, about 230 km (140 miles) southeast of Misrata. Since then, militants have been trying to regroup...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/04/17)
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson quipped on Tuesday that Libya can become a new Dubai if it can clear the dead bodies away, the latest gaffe by Britain’s top diplomat. Johnson, who has offended some allies with flippant remarks, told Conservative Party members that the Libyan city of Sirte could be turned into the next Dubai by British investors if they could clear the bodies. “They’ve got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte, with the help of the municipality of Sirte, to turn it into the next Dubai,” Johnson said. “The only thing they’ve got to do is clear the dead bodies away and then we will be there.” Some activists from Prime Minister Theresa May’s...
(BBC 10/04/17)
Boris Johnson has said Libyan city Sirte could be the new Dubai, adding, "all they have to do is clear the dead bodies away". The foreign secretary's comments at a Conservative conference fringe meeting have sparked anger, with Labour calling them "crass, callous and cruel". Conservative MP Heidi Allen said he should be sacked, as did the Lib Dems. Mr Johnson claimed his critics had "no knowledge or understanding of Libya" and accused them of playing politics. "I look at Libya, it's an incredible country," he told the meeting. "Bone-white sands, beautiful sea, Caesar's Palace, obviously, you know, the real one. "Incredible place. It's got a real potential and brilliant young people who want to do all sorts of tech...
(AFP (eng) 10/03/17)
A Libyan man accused of masterminding the 2012 attack in Benghazi that killed a US ambassador and three of his staff went on trial in Washington on Monday, although his lawyers said he was simply a witness to the deadly events. Sporting a white shirt and a long beard, Ahmed Abu Khattala, 46, sat beside his lawyers in court listening to an Arabic translation of the proceedings through a headset. The surprise attack on the US diplomatic mission in the eastern Libyan port city on September 11, 2012, and the mortar attack on a nearby CIA annex that followed shortly after, left four Americans dead, including Christopher Stevens, the first US ambassador to be killed in the line of duty...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/03/17)
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - An armed group forced Libya’s giant Sharara oilfield to close late on Sunday, shutting off production of more than 230,000 barrels per day (bpd), the head of the state oil company said. Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) declared force majeure on deliveries of Sharara crude, citing “unrest”, according to a letter seen by Reuters. NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla promised that production would restart by Monday evening. Sanalla told reporters that the armed group, Brigade 30, were demanding the release of group members who had been detained. In comments to Libya’s Channel TV station, he said they were guards demanding salary payments. It was unclear if the guards were employed in an official capacity at the field. A...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/03/17)
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - At least five civilians were killed and 12 others wounded among dozens of casualties in recent fighting in the Libyan migrant smuggling hub of Sabratha, the United Nations said on Monday. Sabratha’s university hospital has twice been hit by shelling, rendering the emergency and surgery units unusable, the U.N. Libya mission said in a statement. The clashes have pitted the Anas al-Dabbashi brigade, a powerful armed group previously known for migrant smuggling, against the Operations Room to combat the Islamic State, a group formed last year to oust jihadists from Sabratha. The fighting broke out when a Dabbashi brigade member was shot dead at a checkpoint, but the brigade’s head has said the underlying cause was the...
(AFP (eng) 10/02/17)
Representatives of Libya's rival authorities have made progress on amending a deal on a political transition for the North African country, the special UN envoy said on Sunday. UN envoy Ghassan Salame opened new talks in Tunisia between the rival Libyan administrations on Tuesday, less than a week after presenting a plan to end the chaos in the conflict-wracked country. Years of political turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi have left Libya divided between rival governments and beset by violence as militia forces battle for power. A UN-backed agreement was reached in 2015 as the basis for a political process in Libya, and a unity government was formed with Fayez al-Sarraj as prime minister. The Government...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/02/17)
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Benghazi’s commercial port officially reopened on Sunday after a three-year closure due to fighting between rival factions in the east Libyan city. To mark the opening Abdullah al-Thinni, prime minister of a government based in the east, arrived on board a tanker sent from the eastern city of Tobruk. The port does not export oil, but imports gas and some petroleum products as well as general cargo, and local costs for these would be reduced by the port’s reopening, port spokesman Nasser Al-Maghrabi said. “Today Benghazi port opened and a tanker from Tobruk entered as a message to the world that the port is safe and we are ready to receive tankers,” port manager Abdulazim Al-Abbar...
(AFP (eng) 10/01/17)
Benghazi port in east Libya reopened Sunday for the first time in three years after being forced to cease operations because of clashes in the cradle of the 2011 revolution. Commercial operations at the port had ended in 2014 when armed movements, including the Islamic State group, occupied the North African country's second city. They were expelled in July this year by the forces of military strongman Khalifa Haftar who backs a rival administration in the east to the UN-recognised government in Tripoli. It was the eastern-based government of Abdullah al-Thani that inaugurated the port's reopening, and he arrived on board a cargo vessel accompanied by members of his cabinet.
(AFP (eng) 09/30/17)
Two weeks of clashes between rival armed groups in the city of Sabratha sparked by a lethal shooting at a checkpoint have left 26 dead and 170 wounded, the health ministry said Friday. The ministry said on its Facebook page that the toll, the first official casualty count for the fighting, was compiled by a follow-up commission on the violence in Sabratha, a hub for illegal migration on Libya's Mediterranean coast. The clashes since September 17 have pitted a security force loyal to Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) against the militia of the head of a former people smuggling network, Ahmad Dabbashi. They started with an exchange of gunfire at a checkpoint manned by the security force in...
(AFP (eng) 09/30/17)
Two tribal leaders and two other men were killed when their car was riddled with bullets Friday as they returned from a mediation mission in central Libya, local sources said. The Warfalla tribal clan, one of the country's largest, said on its Facebook page that two sheikhs, Abdullah Nattat and Khamis Isbaga, died along with two companions. The men were on their way home to Bani Walid after a mediation mission in Mizda, 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of the Libyan capital, when their car was attacked, the sources and local media said. Both of Libya's rival administrations, the Government of National Accord based in Tripoli and authorities in eastern Libya, condemned the assassinations, for which there was no immediate...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/29/17)
Libya’s eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar was quoted on Friday as saying force must remain an option for imposing order in the country, though he added that a political solution would be preferable. Libya has been mired in turmoil since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ended Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, giving space to Islamist militants and smuggling networks that have sent hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe via Italy. Italy and other Western states have tried to work with the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, but factions aligned with Haftar control eastern Libya and back a rival government. “It’s obvious that we prefer the political routes, but when these don’t work there must be other solutions,”...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar asked Europe for helicopters and drones to fight rampant migration on the southern border of the war-wracked country. The request came after the commander, who backs a Tobruk-based administration that controls much of the east and south of Libya, travelled to Rome and Paris to bolster his stature as a key player in international efforts to stabilise the country. "When it comes to controlling the southern border, my forces can supply the personnel but you Europeans must send help: drones, helicopters, night vision and vehicles," Haftar said in an interview published Friday in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. Former colonial power Italy has been the strongest backer among Western allies for the UN-recognised Government of...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/29/17)
Islamic State militants in Libya set up a desert army composed of at least three brigades after they lost their stronghold of Sirte last year, a senior prosecutor said on Thursday. Hundreds of militants are believed to have escaped from Sirte before or during the seven-month campaign to oust the jihadist group from the coastal city, which it took control of in 2015. Sheltering in desert camps, fugitive militants have become emboldened in recent weeks, occasionally setting up checkpoints on roads to the south and east of Sirte and claiming two deadly attacks against local forces. The United States, which provided air support for the Sirte campaign, has conducted three sets of air strikes targeting the camps - one in...

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