Tripoli, 7 January:
Ten days after a nighttime curfew imposed in Sirte, Libya’s Chief of Staff Yousef Mangoush has now chosen a military commander for the town, Libyan news agency LANA has reported.
Colonel Omar Abdessalam Al-Hasnawi was chosen for the position, as stipulated by decree No.3 of the Libyan National Army, published on 3 January 2013. A local council spokesperson has confirmed the nomination.
Hasnawi will be the army representative for the “Sirte military zone”, which includes not only the town itself but stretches from Bin Jawad to the Al-Sadada area, bordering the Misrata military zone.
The new commander will face the difficult task of ensuring security in an area in which the level of violence and crime has risen noticeably over the past months. Local residents are also increasingly vocal in their criticism of the government’s inaction and what they perceive as deliberate neglect.
The authorities have nonetheless begun addressing demands for greater security and criminal investigations, bringing the army, the National Security Directorate and militias together to form a joint operations centre for Sirte.
However, today Monday, clashes were reported in the town between the national army’s Zawia Martyrs Thunderbolt Battalion and members of the Libya Shield’s Colonel Mohamed Moussa Misrati Battallion when the latter attempted to enter the town with heavily armed vehicles claiming they wanted to arrest one of Qaddafi’s associates.