By Sami Zaptia.
London, 27 March 2016:
Sunday has been a busy and tense day in the capital Tripoli as locals woke up . . .[restrict]to the rumours and counter rumours that PM-designate Faiez Serraj and his GNA were again on their way to the capital. This followed on from the same rumours Friday and Saturday.
At the time of writing there was still no confirmed appearance of Serraj nor his GNA.
The day started off with the shock news for potential passengers that Tripoli’s Mitiga and Misrata airports had, without prior notice, their airspace closed by the Tripoli de facto administration. All inbound and outbound traffic had been suspended.
A statement later in the day by the administration said that the airspace had been closed for ‘’technical reasons’’. However, security and aviation sources in Tripoli undermined this claim. They said that armed militias had forced aviation personnel to leave their posts at around 4 am. Airline staff were advised not to turn up to work at Mitiga.
Both Libyan Airlines and Afriqiyah Airways in their official statements said that they had been given no reasons for the sudden closure of airspace.
Nevertheless, the rumours persisted all day taking on various twists and turns. Libyan Wings was forced to put out a statement denying that Serraj and the GNA were being transported on one of their flights out of Tunisia into Mitiga. In its statement, the airline added that it was a ‘’commercial’’ entity not involved in the political infighting.
Jamal Zubia, the head of the Tripoli administration’s Foreign Media department was similarly forced to put out a post that Serraj and his GNA were not being flown in by any Libyan Airliners.
There then followed the rumour that Serraj had resigned from the GNA and that the Tunisian authorities had given the GNA deadline by which to leave the country. Both rumours were strongly denied by Serraj’s Media Advisor, Fathi Ben Essa and by Presidential Council member Mohammed Ammary.
Tripoli has been tense with the increased visibility of armed militias and the sound of gunfire. Locals who drove by Palm City, one of the potential sites for the GNA, reported to Libya Herald that there was increased activity in the area and that the previously low and transparent walls of Palm City are being raised, and that there was a strong checkpoint on the coastal road to Janzur on the way to Palm city.
On the other hand, Fathi Ben Essa, Media Consultant to Faiez Serraj wrote in a philosophical tone tonight. ‘’At the end of the day, the (GNA) Security Committee is working on executing the job professionally and responsibly. Its motto is the safety of the citizen first and foremost. And enabling the Presidential Council to start its responsibilities to its citizens with a spirit that says that revenge does not build a nation or create a state, and injustice does not save a people’’.
‘’When the (Security) Committee completes its procedures, the GNA will enter Tripoli, the entry of a loved son of Tripoli with its hands and its heart open to its people. Working with them to turn over a page of the past to start a new page’’.
‘’Therefore, the entry of the GNA will not be the entry of victory or revenge, as it knows that in a battle between citizens, the victor is the defeated’’.
Tripoli and Libya still awaits. [/restrict]