3 – 9 Jan: GNA aligned forces trigger clashes near Zuwara and Garabulli

Jan 9, 2018 | Libyan actors

On 5 January, the Government of National Accord (GNA) launched a military deployment, led by its Western Region military commander Usama Juwaili, to target ‘smugglers and armed groups’ in and around Zuwara, near the border with Tunisia. The deployment triggered brief clashes with militias near Zuwara’s Abu Kammash area, forcing a shutdown of the Libya-Tunisia border crossing at Ras Jedir on 5-6 January. Juwaili reportedly entered Zuwara peacefully on 8 January and met with representatives of the local municipality as well as the security directorate to begin putting the agreement into action.

On 6 January, a large military deployment by the Government of National Accord (GNA) GNA-affiliated ‘Kani brigade’ (also known as the GNA’s 7th Infantry Division) from Tarhouna took control of the Garabulli coastal checkpoint 40 km east of Tripoli. The kidnapping of two Kani members, and the killing of one, by a gunman from Garabulli is understood to have sparked the offensive. Tensions subsided after the Kani brigade pulled out later the same day. The Garabulli local mayor announced the handover of the checkpoint to local security, and said that it will be manned in conjunction with the GNA’s Central Security forces.