By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 28 November 2013:
The United Nations is to send an armed force of up to 235 including support . . .[restrict]staff to guard the 200 members of the Tripoli-based UN Support Mission in Libya, after the Security Council today approved the request of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to deploy the force.
However within hours of the announcement, UNSMIL felt the need to issue a clarification, in the wake of social media posts, which included the speculation that the UN force was connected to a larger deployment of peace-keeping troops.
In a statement UNSMIL said that the role of the team would “ be limited to the protection of the office and accommodation premises occupied by UNSMIL staff members. The scope of its work shall not exceed the perimeter of UNSMIL headquarters”.
The UN body said that it had informed the Libyan government of its plans, which it maintained were in line with the protection of other UN missions. It added that once the details of the guard force were finalised, the arrangement would be sent to the government for its approval.
In requesting guards, the secretary general had told the Security Council that UN staff in Libya were “at increased risk of attack because of worsening tensions and the lack of reliable national security forces”.
He said that the force, probably drawn from existing peace missions “would act as a deterrent against extremists elements who are not welcoming of foreign personnel.” He added that the guards would be able to help evacuate all UN staff, if that were ever necessary.