By Umar Khan.
Tripoli, 25 May 2013:
A plan to ensure the security of Tripoli . . .[restrict]has finally been prepared by Tripoli’s Security Chamber and the Joint Force Operations Room. It was forwarded to the General National Congress and Prime Minister’s office on Wednesday, according to a source who was involved in the plan’s formation.
If approved and implemented as set out, it would see the Army setting up checkpoints at all entry and exit points in the capital and preventing any movement of armed vehicles without prior permission from the authorities.
According to the source, it has been agreed by security officials that the movement of unauthorised armed vehicles will be banned to ensure maximum security in the city. This will be gradually extended all over Libya. “These checkpoints will not affect the normal traffic but only the armed vehicles. These will be stopped from entering or leaving the city (Tripoli) without prior permission from the relevant authorities to ensure security of the city. Free movement of such vehicles belonging to different entities is the cause for instability in the country,” the source said.
Security officials have been under growing pressure from the Congress to ensure security and stability. Many diplomats have also expressed concerns about the level of security in Tripoli and security for their staff. The plan finally comes after repeated calls and assurances from both the government and security officials who were severely criticised after several security-related incidents in Tripoli including last month’s bomb attack on the French embassy.
Concerns about security are affecting the economy of the country and are directly responsible for companies not starting projects in Libya. The British Council and the French school have temporarily suspended their activities, reportedly because of the security situation.
Under the security plan, Tripoli will be secured in four stages. Firstly, the entrance/exit checkpoints will be manned by the Army. The second step will see different forces working together – the Army, Military Police, National Guards and Intelligence officials – keeping a presence in small operations room in different districts of Tripoli. The third step will see the deployment of anti-crime units that will provide direct assistance to the police as and when needed. The fourth line is the police; they will be present on the streets, man the police stations and be the first line of security for the people.
The Supreme Security Committee (SSC) will also take part in implementing this plan until it is dissolved completely. Despite the efforts of the outgoing Minister of Interior, Ashour Shuwail, the SSC has not been completely dissolved and many are still waiting to be integrated in the security forces or to be sent to other departments. According to an internal estimate of SSC Tripoli branch, less than a 1,000 men are still waiting to be informed of their respective cases.
The spokesman for the Joint Force, Essam Naas, confirmed to the Libya Herald that a security plan was indeed forwarded to Congress and Prime Minister’s office but refused to divulge further details. “We have formally sent a security plan to the authorities and we are confident that it will be approved really soon.”
Naas also said that problems between the Interior and Finance ministries had been solved and they were assured of robust release of funds to run the operations room. “We have been informed that all the outstanding payments will be made and funds for the operations room will be made available in the coming week. We are very hopeful that this time will be different and funds will actually be released ,unlike the last few times.”