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Libya

Yearbook 2015

Libya. According to COUNTRYAAH, the security situation in Libya continued to be very unstable, and fighting between Libya's two rival governments and fighting between hundreds of rival militias continued. Media reported on a lawless country in disrepair, where the fight for oil wealth intensified and where government representatives were threatened to life. In Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, the situation was acute. There, people, with whom the civil rights organization Amnesty International talked, testified about the dead being dumped in cemeteries, on roadsides and outside hospitals. The turmoil in the outside world was great, especially in Italy, after the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization took root in the country and threatened with attacks against Italy and Europe via Libya. Both Italy and NATO strengthened their readiness in the area. At the same time, UN-led peace talks were held in Morocco between representatives of the country's two rival governments and serious attempts at a political solution were made. The UN Security Council unanimously called on the two camps to settle their dispute and form a unifying government.

2015 Libya

In February, 21 Christian Egyptians were kidnapped in Libya and IS took on the act. A video was released showing how Egyptians have been beheaded. It was believed to be about poor workers kidnapped in two raids in the city of Sirte in northwestern Libya. A few hours after its publication, Egypt said it had bombed IS's positions in Libya, whose air force commander stated that at least 50 people were killed.

In March, the disputed General Khalifa Haftar was appointed army chief by the internationally recognized government, which since 2014 has its seat in the port city of Tobruk. In the same month, Omar al-Hassi, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Islamist government in the capital Tripoli was deposed.

In May, fierce battles south of the coastal city of Sirte were fought between IS and the Tripoli-based government forces calling themselves Libya's dawn, formerly the Misratamilis. IS said later that same month to have taken the airport in Sirte. After five members of Libya's dawn were killed in a suicide attack, the Tripoli government called for mobilization against IS.

In July, Muammar al-Khadaffi's son Saif al-Islam al-Khadaffi was sentenced to death in his absence by a court in Tripoli. Another eight people were sentenced to death for crimes committed in connection with the 2011 uprising. Saif al-Islam al-Khadaffi was not present in the courtroom because he was held by a militia group called the Zintan Brigades in the city of Zintan, a group loyal to the internationally recognized government. The other eight were in the Tripoli government's custody. The UN Commissioner for Human Rights voiced sharp criticism of the judicial process.

In August, UN envoy Bernardino León noted that the humanitarian situation in Libya was very difficult as 1.2 million Libyans suffered food shortages and 435,000 were forced to flee their homes, while 250,000 migrants from other countries were estimated to be on the way towards Europe across the Mediterranean. According to the UNHCR, during the first eight months of the year, over 300,000 people had fled in overloaded inflatables across the Mediterranean, 2,500 of them drowned. According to the UNHCR, the Mediterranean had become a mass grave for boat refugees.

After nearly a year of UN-led peace talks, at a press conference in October, Bernardino León announced that the two rival governments had reached agreement on a unifying government. A member of Parliament in Tripoli was to be nominated as prime minister. But representatives from both camps immediately opposed the plans.

In the same month, a helicopter with just over 16 people was shot down near Tripoli. In the helicopter were representatives of the Tripoli government. All on board were believed to have perished. A spokesman for the Tripoli government accused the Tobruk government of being behind the shooting and promised revenge. In Tobruk, the charges were denied.

In December, during mediation by the UN, delegates from several of Libya's fighting groups signed an agreement to form a unity government. However, the leaders of both rival parliaments refused to accept the agreement, as did groupings in both camps. The UN Security Council unanimously approved the deal. At the same time, IS was reported to have taken the ancient city of Sabratha near the capital Tripoli.

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