Aid & Development

The security situation in Derna, Libya, is stabilising

North Africa

The Libyan National Army (LNA) and security services are scanning the city of Derna, formerly a hub of extremist forces. Since the city was freed from extremist groups, it began seeing relative stability.

In July 2018, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar announced that the city of Derna in Libya had been freed from militant control, ushering a period of relative stability into the city. Six months after Derna was liberated from the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council (DMSC) the city’s security forces are launching several operations inside the city in order to maintain the security of the residents. The Libyan National Army (LNA), in coordination with the Omar al-Mukhtar Operations Command, the police and the intelligence services have begun patrolling the city to crack down on violators and potential sleeper cells.

“We started today to examine violations and abuses, and the military police will begin its work in this regard. We also added force units to protect the military police in order to establish the law,” said Brigadier General Salem Rahil, the Commander of the Omar al-Mukhtar Operations Command in Derna. “Those who commit abuses will directly be held accountable.”

Last month, the LNA’s police began setting up checkpoints throughout the whole city to “control the violators, terrorists, as well as drug and alcohol dealers,” said a police officer.

Since the 2011 revolution, the city has been in a constant state of turmoil, with militias and militant organisations taking advantage of the chaos. In November 2014, ISIS took control over part of the country to establish three Wilayat (provinces): Tripolitania, Fezzan and Barqah. The city of Derna, which was captured by the militant group was part of the Barqah Wilayah, which covered the country’s eastern territories. During their control over Derna, the militant group instilled a strict rule, tyrannising those who stood in their way. Soon after, the al-Qaeda-affiliated DMSC began clashing with ISIS, which resulted in the DMSC controlling the city in July 2015. The DMSC, similar to their predecessor, forced the residents of Derna to live under strict rule.

In May 2018, the LNA launched an offensive to free the city from the DMSC, which succeeded in capturing the city in less than two months.

Since the city was freed in June, the residents of Derna are attempting to resume a sense of normalcy, celebrate their cultural heritage, and participate in sporting events, which were banned by both ISIS and the DMSC.

The security measures that have been taken by the LNA and other military commands were welcomed by the city’s residents who expressed that they finally feel safe in the city.