Weekly Digest – Libya (23rd February 2021)

Weekly Highlights

  • Libyan interior minister’s convoy in shootout he calls assassination attempt
  • 5+5 Committee prepared to dispose two tons of war remnants
  • Libyan oil production drops
  • Over 278,000 persons are internally displaced in Libya, IOM confirms
  • More than 150 migrants freed in Libya in raid on human traffickers

Currency Exchange:

  • Bank exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 4.4707
  • Black market exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 5.10

Libyan interior minister’s convoy in shootout he calls assassination attempt

Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha said he escaped a “well-planned” assassination attempt on Sunday in which gunmen fired on his motorcade in the capital Tripoli, though an armed force that said its members were involved disputed his account. Speaking to Reuters, Bashagha said a vehicle started encroaching on his convoy and people inside the vehicle opened fire, leading to an exchange of fire in which one of his guards and one of the attackers were killed.  “It is not an incident that came by chance, but was well-planned,” Bashagha said.  His guards pursued the vehicle and it overturned, he said, adding that they arrested two people, one of whom was wanted by police.  The Stabilisation Support Apparatus, an armed force set up by outgoing Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj this year, said in a statement posted online that Bashagha’s guards had opened fire on one of its vehicles as it passed his convoy.  REUTERS

5+5 Committee prepared to dispose two tons of war remnants

A member of the subcommittee of the 5+5 Military Committee, Brigadier-General Mohamed Al-Turjman, confirmed that it is preparing to dispose almost two tons of ammunition, which was recently discovered, adding that they had completed approximately 40% of searches in the targeted area.  He said they had covered the area extending from Abugrain to Wishka where Haftar’s forces were stationed for more than five months.  Al-Turjman explained that this area remains classified as perilous, noting that search in this particular region would progress at a much slower rate than in previous days, as it is likely that it is peppered with mines and explosives.  LIBYA OBSERVER

Libyan oil production drops

Libyan oil production has fallen to 700,000 barrels a day (b/d), according to the Opec member’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), dropping from the production rate of 870,000 b/d that was announced on 14 September.  This decline of 170,000 b/d is the first time Libya’s output has dropped since militias ended a year-long blockade of key oil terminals.  It comes in the wake of a rocket attack on the Zawiya refinery and after officials decided to halted production from Libya’s Sharia field due to declining security.  The Sharia field was producing about 250,000 b/d before the disruption.  Libya has seen a rebound over the year with production rising from just 100,000 b/d in May, but analysts are expecting increased disruptions in the sector as political tensions increase.  MEED

Over 278,000 persons are internally displaced in Libya, IOM confirms

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) confirmed that there are more than 278,000 internally displaced people still in Libya, notwithstanding the ceasefire.  IOM explained, in a statement, that up until December 1 last, more than 37,000 internally displaced people had been returned to their places of origin, pointing out that there still exists an enormous challenge in relation to the very limited access to basic services for the majority of them.  It stressed that the highest priority for internally displaced people in Libya remains shelter, food and health services.  LIBYA OBSERVER

More than 150 migrants freed in Libya in raid on human traffickers

Libyan authorities raided a secret prison in a south-eastern city used by human traffickers and freed at last 156 African migrants, as the U.N. migration agency said Monday more than 1,300 Europe-bound migrants were returned over the past week to the conflict-stricken country.  The raid in the city of Kufra took place on Sunday after a migrant managed to escape a house-turned-prison last week and reported to authorities that he and other migrants were held and tortured by traffickers there, the Kufra security bureau said.  Security forces arrested at least six traffickers and referred them to prosecutors for further investigation, the bureau said. Among them were 15 women and five children, it said. LATIMES


List of holidays in Libya 2021

17 FebWednesdayLibyan Revolution DayPublic Holiday
1 MaySaturdayMay DayPublic Holiday
13 MayThursdayEid al-FitrPublic Holiday
14 MayFridayEid al-Fitr HolidayPublic Holiday
15 MaySaturdayEid al-Fitr HolidayPublic Holiday
19 JulMondayDay of ArafahPublic Holiday
20 JulTuesdayEid al-AdhaPublic Holiday
21 JulWednesdayEid al-AdhaPublic Holiday
22 JulThursdayEid al-AdhaPublic Holiday
10 AugTuesdayMuharramPublic Holiday
16 SepThursdayMartyrs’ DayPublic Holiday
19 OctTuesdayThe Prophet’s BirthdayPublic Holiday
23 OctSaturdayLiberation DayPublic Holiday
24 DecFridayIndependence DayPublic Holiday

Exchange rates – Libyan Dinar

According to our most recent information (22nd February 2021) 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.


Do not travel to Libya due to COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

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 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 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 advice from the Libyan government, please visit the National Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) webpage at ncdc.org.ly/Ar/

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’s Interior Minister Survives Assassination Attempt

Libya’s interior minister survived unscathed Sunday an attack by gunmen on his motorcade, according to sources from his office.

The gunmen fired on Fathi Bashagha’s convoy as he drove across the capital of Tripoli Sunday following a visit to the National Oil Corporation.  A statement from the ministry said Bashagha survived an “assassination attempt as he returned from his residence in Janzur.”  Speaking with Reuters, Bashagha said a vehicle encroached on his convoy before opening fire.  “It is not an incident that came by chance, but was well-planned,” Bashagha told Reuters.

Two of the assailants were arrested and a third was killed in a confrontation with Bashagha’s guards. Bashagha’s office said the minister was unharmed, but at least one of his guards was wounded.  The attack comes weeks after Libya agreed to an internationally recognized transitional government tasked with guiding the country to national elections later this year.

Blackwater founder Erik Prince accused of helping evade U.N. Libya sanctions

Independent U.N. sanctions monitors accused Prince of proposing a private military operation known as ‘Project Opus’ to Libya’s eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar in April 2019 and helping procure three aircraft for it.

A spokesperson for Prince denied the accusations in the annual U.N. report, which was submitted on Thursday to the Security Council Libya sanctions committee and is due to be made public next month.  “Erik Prince had absolutely nothing to do with any operation in Libya in 2019, or at any other time,” the spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters.

The U.N. monitors wrote in the report that they had “identified that Erik Prince made a proposal for the operation to Khalifa Haftar in Cairo, Egypt on, or about, 14 April 2019.” Haftar was in Cairo at the time to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The report described Prince’s proposal as “a well-funded private military company operation” designed to provide Haftar with armed assault helicopters, intelligence surveillance aircraft, maritime interdiction, drones and cyber, intelligence and targeting capabilities.


The powerful interior minister of Libya’s unity government survived an assassination attempt on Sunday, an aide said, sparking fears of resurgent violence despite UN-led peace efforts.  Fathi Bashagha’s convoy “was fired on from an armoured car while he was on the highway” near the capital Tripoli, seat of the Government of National Accord (GNA), a member of his inner circle said.  “His police escort returned fire. Two of the assailants were arrested,” the source added.  A third, identified as Radwan al-Hangari, later died in hospital, according to the same source, who added the three assailants hailed from Zawiya, 50 kilometres west of Tripoli.  An AFP journalist heard an intense exchange of gunfire around on the coastal road near Janzur on the eastern edges of Tripoli, which was later closed for an hour by security forces. SBS

UN Secretary-General Special Envoy for Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Jan Kubis, continued his meetings with Libyan officials and stakeholders in Benghazi and Tripoli yesterday and today.  UNSMIL reported that the meetings aim to project the continuity of the UN-facilitated, political, security and military, and economic and financial tracks. Following the congratulatory phone call of the Secretary-General with the Prime Minister designate Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba on 16 February, Kubis, accompanied by ASG/UNSMIL Coordinator Raisedon Zenenga and ASG/HC/RC Georgette Gagnon, met today with the PM designate in Tripoli and congratulated him on his election by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF).  LIBYA HERALD

Libya’s interim prime minister arrived Friday in Tobruk to meet with the speaker of the parliament based in the eastern city.  The premier’s spokesman Mohamed Hamouda said Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh would discuss with Aguila Saleh the issue of forming a new government for the North African country.  Since recent elections that chose the nation’s temporary executive, this is the first time Dbeibeh has visited Tobruk, which is the seat of parliament and is under the control of General Khalifa Haftar.  On Thursday, Dbeibeh met with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and discussed ways to enhance cooperation during the transition period in Libya.  Libya’s rival political groups agreed on Feb. 5 during UN-mediated talks in Geneva to form an interim authority that would lead the country to elections in December.  AA

The Libyan interim Prime Minister, Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah, arrived Thursday in Cairo and met with the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, in his first official visit as a Libyan official since being elected by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) in Geneva on February 05.  The meeting in Cairo was also attended by Egyptian Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Chief of Intelligence, the Egyptian Presidency said, adding that Sisi had congratulated Dbeibah for the election by LPDF, saying it was a promising start and that Egypt would always support Libyans to achieve stability.  LIBYA OBSERVER


The total number of Covid-19 cases in Libya rose to 130,212, including 115,357 recoveries and 2,114 fatalities on Monday. The National Center for Disease Control recorded 415 new cases and 2 deaths in the past 24 hours.  The COVID-19 isolation centre in Sabha stopped accepting patients on February 20 as it has run out of oxygen following a significant increase in critical cases. The city had a three-day nightly curfew last week following a local spike in cases. This is the first indicator that part of the health service might be struggling due to COVID.