Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Clearing out Tripoli's suburbs

The Zidan government's efforts to cleanse Tripoli's suburbs of its more undesirable elements have continued, with some degree of success. This week, the Joint Security Force, comprising elements from both the Interior and Defence Ministries, carried out a number of raids on buildings and farms, many of them owned by members of the former regime, in the surroundings of the capital which are being used by criminal gangs. These included the farms that belonged to the late former general secretary and NOC head Shukri Ghanem, as well as those of regime loyalists, General al-Hadi al-Taher Emberish and Dr Ahmed Mohammed Awidat, which have now been handed over to the local council.

The forces have rooted out gangs involved in the sale of alcohol, prostitution, drugs and illegal immigrants. In one raid carried out on 20 March in the Salahudinne area, the authorities confiscated 40 bottles of alcohol, as well as car ownership booklets and identity documentation. In another, they freed a family that was being held captive and that had seemingly been tortured. They also arrested a number of individuals.

While this security initiative is being presented as a means of cleansing the Tripoli suburbs of criminal elements, it also appears to be a way for the government to erode some of the power of the militias operating in and around the capital. Many of these armed groups use these farms on the outskirts of the city as places to congregate, store weapons and to relax. By raiding these buildings Zidan's government is also quietly targeting some of the militias.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focusand Libya Politics & Security.

© 2013 Menas Associates

No comments:

Post a Comment