By Umar Khan,
Tripoli, 17 August 2013:
Units of the Joint Force (JF) began to deploy this afternoon to secure the entry points . . .[restrict]to Tripoli and set up security checkpoints within the city. The JF was equipped recently after the emergency budget was made available after several security incidents.
The move was confirmed by its head of public relations, Esam Naas, who told the Libya Herald that from tonight onwards there will be regular patrols and checkpoints manned by professionals.
Naas said: “We wasted no time in finishing the preparations to go out and secure the city. This will be done in full coordination with Police directorate of Tripoli and other security forces. Our 2,000 men will be guarding the exits and entry points of Greater Tripoli, from Garabulli to Janzour and to the very south of the city.”
Naas also said that establishing checkpoints from tonight was not because of threat of any kind but simply because the JF was ready.
He said: “There is no threat for tonight as far as we are concerned. We simply went out tonight because we were ready to secure the city.”
The head of Tripoli Local Council Sadat Elbadri hailed the move as a positive step. He told the Libya Herald “I was informed about JF forming checkpoints and securing the entrance and exits of the city. It is a good move.” Talking about the timing of the mobilisation he added, “They said they were ready to take on the duty now.”
The JF was formed in March earlier this year, with its headquarters in the Mitiga base, as a joint initiative between the two ministries, Interior & Defence to secure the city. The unit’s establishment was deliberately limited to 2,000 selected fighters. However without proper funding and equipment, its operations were largely limited to training and the clearing of illegally occupied building in the capital. The long-promised budget has now been available, prompted by rising security concerns.
The Joint Force is commanded by Colonel Fitouri Ghuraebi and has more than 300 ‘technicals’ and 21 armoured vehicles at its disposal. [/restrict]