By Ryszard Bouvier.
Tripoli, 27 December:
Local officials in Sirte decided to impose a nighttime curfew in a meeting yesterday due to unresolved security issues in the town, Libyan news agency LANA reported.
It was also deided at the meeting that security groups in the town would work together to form a joint operations centre to retake control of the town.
Abdallah Abu Haliqa, deputy commander of the Zawyia Martyrs’ Brigade which is reported to have integrated into the army, will head the new operations center. Members of the National Security Directorate, Libya Shield, and the Brigade of the Martyr Al-Jalit will help to man the centre too.
The decision was made in a series of meeting between the Local Council, the Council of Elders, the National Security Directorate and local brigades that began earlier this week.
Consultations were first called in in response to the deterioration of security in town, as shown by the increase of assassinations, smuggling and irregular migration. One issue to be addressed is the prevalence of cars with tainted windows and no (or misleading) number plates. Among the measures that were decided on is a curfew for people and vehicles after midnight.
Several days of protests by local residents against the precarious security situation preceded the meeting. Solidarity Press reported yesterday that inhabitants of one of the residential areas in Sirte were threatening to cut and boycott local services, including schools, government institutions and banks, until the Ministry of Interior responded to their demands for better security. According to the report, protesters blame Misratan residents of Sirte for the assassinations the town has witnessed recently.
The situation in Sirte has been the object of discussion in various meetings over the past few months, with limited results, as it seems. Establishing a joint operations center was first mooted last October.