Weekly Digest – Libya (01st September 2020)

Weekly Highlights

  • Libya’s biggest oilfield halts all work after employee tests Covid positive
  • Libya: GNA’s al-Sarraj appoints new defence minister, army chief
  • Libya’s Tripoli- based gov suspends minister after shooting
  • Libyans gasp from summer heat as civil war shreds power grid
  • Libya oil sector losses exceed $9bn
  • Currency Exchange:
    • Bank exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 1.3661
    • Black market exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 6.35

Libya’s biggest oilfield halts all work after employee tests Covid positive

Libya’s largest oilfield, Sharara, is stopping all operations, and the operator is evacuating the workers as a foreign employee had tested positive for the coronavirus after coming into contact with the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Monday.  Sharara has not produced oil since January, when forces affiliated with the Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar occupied Libya’s oil export terminals and oilfields.  Early in June, NOC resumed production at the 300,000-bpd Sharara oilfield after negotiating the opening of an oilfield valve. Just a day later, however, Sharara shuttered again, after an armed force had told the workers in the field to stop working.  OIL PRICE

Libya: GNA’s al-Sarraj appoints new defence minister, army chief

The head of Libya’s internationally recognised government has appointed a new defence minister and army chief after days of protests against poor public services and living conditions in the country.  The Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, on Saturday promoted deputy and acting Defence Minister Salah Eddine al-Namrush to the ministry’s top job and appointed General Mohammad Ali al-Haddad as head of the army.  The order came hours after the United Nations-recognised GNA announced the suspension of Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha over his alleged support for protesters last week.  ALJAZEERA

Libya’s Tripoli- based gov suspends minister after shooting

Libya´s Tripoli-based government has suspended its interior minister following a shooting at a demonstration in the capital earlier this week, the United Nations-supported government said Friday.  Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga will face an investigation over `violations´ committed against protesters, the government said in a statement.  On Sunday, at least six people were abducted, and others wounded when armed men in military uniforms opened fire on a demonstration in Tripoli against deteriorating. economic conditions, according to a Wednesday statement by Amnesty International.  DAILY MAIL

Libyans gasp from summer heat as civil war shreds power grid

Summers in the Libyan capital can be brutal, and this one is the worst in memory. As temperatures in Tripoli breach 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), power failures leave residents struggling to stay cool without air-conditioners and fans.  Ahmed, 29 years old, flees outside for relief. The cafe where he used to work folded during a coronavirus lockdown, and he spends his evenings on the Mediterranean waterfront where he can enjoy the sea breeze, even if long stretches of the corniche plunge into darkness during power cuts.  BNN BLOOMBERG

Libya oil sector losses exceed $9bn

Libya’s losses have exceeded $9 billion due to the closures of oil fields and facilities by Khalifa Haftar’s militia since January, announced the National Oil Corporation on Friday.  The corporation published on its Facebook page: “224 days, the losses of illegal closures of oil facilities surpassing the barrier of 9 billion, 5 million and 330,000 dollars.”  Pro-Haftar militias and factions backed by Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been closing Libyan oil fields and facilities since 17 January 2020, drastically reducing Libyan oil production to less than 100,000 barrels per day, compared with around 1.2 million barrels before the closure.  MEMO


List of holidays in Libya 2020

Exchange rates – Libyan Dinar

According to our most recent information (31st August 2020) the Libyan Dinar has the following exchange rates.

The exchange rate from your own bank or credit card company will differ somewhat from the exchange rates as mentioned above. Your bank or credit card company might also apply additional international charges.


Crime levels in Libya remain high, including the threat of kidnapping for ransom. Westerners and U.S. citizens have been targets of these crimes.

Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Libya. Violent extremist activity in Libya remains high, and extremist groups have made threats against U.S. government officials and citizens. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, hotels, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities.

Outbreaks of violence between competing armed groups can occur with little warning and have the potential to impact U.S. citizens. The capital, Tripoli, and other cities, such as Surman, Al-Jufra, Misrata, Ajdabiya, Benghazi, Sabha, and Dernah, have witnessed fighting among armed groups, as well as terrorist attacks. Hotels and airports frequented by Westerners have been the targets of these attacks. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19, please visit:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)

If you decide to travel to Libya:

  • Carry proof of citizenship and valid immigration status at all times.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Make contingency plans to leave.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organisation or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization.

Libya: Gaddafi’s tribe calls on its members to withdraw from Haftar militia

The Libyan tribe Qadhadhfa yesterday called on all its members to withdraw immediately from the forces of renegade General Khalifa Haftar.  This came in a statement of the Social Council of the Libyan tribe Qadhadhfa, reported by local media.  The declaration called on members of the Qadhadhfa tribe to “withdraw immediately and remove Haftar’s mercenaries from their areas in Sirte.”  “All the prisoners in Sirte must be released and criminals and mercenaries who broke into the houses, must be handed over to justice” the statement said.

It also called on “the Haftar militia in Sirte to hand over those implicated in the murder of Nasser Aweidat,” who had been run over.  The Libyan tribe threatened: “If these demands are not immediately met, things will become more complicated and we will consider Al-Karama Operation as an enemy to be fought,” in relation to Haftar’s operation against the internationally recognised government in Tripoli.  The Qadhadhfa is a Libyan tribe to which late President Muammar Gaddafi belonged, and it is scattered in the cities of Sirte and Sabha.  Yesterday, 27 August, the Libyan government warned Haftar’s militia against the ongoing attacks and crimes in Sirte and Traghan.  The government said in a statement that it “will not stand idly by and will not relinquish its duties to protect the Libyan people and ensure a peaceful transition towards a more peaceful and stable stage.”  A ceasefire has been prevailing in Libya for the past week, according to two joint statements issued by the Libyan government’s Presidential Council and the Tobruk Parliament supporting Haftar, who is fighting the government over legitimacy and control of the oil-rich country.

UAE involved in drone strike that killed 26 Libyan cadets: Report

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was behind a drone strike earlier this year that killed 26 unarmed cadets at a military academy in Tripoli, Libya, an investigation by the BBC has found.

According to Friday’s report, the 4 January attack on a military academy in the Libyan capital was carried out by a Chinese Blue Arrow 7 missile fired by a Wing Loong II drone.  The BBC said in its report that shrapnel from the missile found at the scene of the attack matched the components of a Blue Arrow 7 missile.  According to the BBC, the missile could have only been fired by a Chinese-made Wing Loong II drone, which is only used by China, Kazakhstan and the UAE.  Just three weeks before the strike, the UN also concluded that the Blue Arrow 7 “is ballistically paired to be delivered by the Wing Loong II and by no other aviation asset identified in Libya to date”.

At the time of the attack, the BBC said the drone was being operated out of the al-Khadim air base, 105km (65 miles) east of Benghazi, which is in territory controlled by eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces.  The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) said at the time that the drone in question was a Chinese-made Wing Loong II.  Haftar’s forces had denied responsibility for the attack, saying it could have been caused by local shelling, while the UAE has repeatedly denied military involvement in the country.


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Cairo supports any step to reach a truce and a political settlement in Libya that achieves security and stability for the Libyan people, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told Stephanie Williams, the deputy head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) for political affairs during a meeting in the Egyptian capital on Sunday.  Foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said in a statement that the meeting tackled the latest developments in Libya and UNSMIL’s vision for ending the crisis in the country.  Shoukry said Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has welcomed the statements issued recently by the Presidential Council of the Libyan Government of the National Accord (GNA) and the House of Representatives on a ceasefire and the halting of military operations in all Libyan territories.  The ceasefire was announced by the GNA and the Libyan parliament in separate statements almost two weeks ago.  AHRAM ONLINE

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The Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha issued a statement Saturday, following the decision of the Head of Presidential Council Fayez Al-Sirraj to suspend him from his position, saying he was ready to undergo investigations for the protests’ issues, but he asked that the investigations be in public and aired live on TV as per democratic regulations.  Bashagha added that he was dismayed at the security measures taken by some armed groups which don’t operate under the Interior Ministry of the GNA, saying that they had done acts that underestimated the dignity of Libyans who were demonstrating peacefully.  LIBYA OBSERVER

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The United States on Saturday expressed appreciation to its close partnership with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and his Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.  In a tweet, the US Embassy called for cooperation in the interests of providing good governance to the Libyan people. “US supports rule of law, appreciates close partnerships with PM Sarraj and MOI Bashaga and urges cooperation in the interests of providing good governance to the Libyan people,” the embassy said on Twitter. Earlier on Saturday, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called for a full and inclusive political process that will meet the aspirations of the Libyan people. On Monday, al-Sarraj pledged a cabinet reshuffle amid protests against corruption and deterioration of public services.  AA

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The United Nations on Saturday voiced alarm over what it called “a dramatic turn of events” in Libya’s civil war, after a power struggle between leaders of the Tripoli-based government surfaced in the wake of anti-corruption protests.  Protests over deteriorating economic conditions erupted earlier this week in the capital and elsewhere in western Libya, which is controlled by forces loyal to the U.N.-supported government. In Tripoli, local militia allied with the government opened fire on demonstrators with rifles and truck-mounted guns and abducted some of the protesters.  “Libya is witnessing a dramatic turn of events that underlines the urgent need to return to a full and inclusive political process,” the U.N. support mission in Libya said.  YAHOO NEWS


As at 31 Aug, Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said there were 400 new cases, with 12,270 active cases, 1,459 recovered cases and 237 deaths.  The latest curfew is for ten days (starting 30 August) from 9pm to 6am and for 24-hours on Friday and Saturday.  Travel between cities is prohibited and only small food shops can open and can be visited on foot during the 24-hour curfews. Social distancing and other anti-Coronavirus health procedures are to be followed. Social and religious gatherings and public transport continues to be prohibited.