Tripoli-Zawyia coastal road reopened as Serraj promises compensation to Wirshifana

By Sami Zaptia.

London, 25 August 2016:

The main coastal road between Tripoli and Zawiya has been reported to have been reopened today.

The news came following an announcement today by the Presidency Council/Government of National Accord (PC/GNA) that it has been negotiating between the coastal inhabitants and the inland inhabitants representing Wirshifana.

In return for reopening the coastal road, the PC/GNA has promised the Wirshefana tribes that it will activate the existing law which gives compensation for war damage.

The Wirshafana tribe occupying a large swathe of territory from the foot of the Nefusa/Western Mountains up to the coast and onto the Tunisian border are deemed to have made the most political losses as the result of the fall of the Qaddafi regime. The Wirshefana tribe are claiming damages for war losses incurred during the 2014 operations by pro February 17th forces in their region.

The officially recognized and uniformed state police (as opposed to militias) were dispersed along part of the coastal road for at least some time today in the hope of spreading confidence amongst motorists. It is not clear for how long the police can continue to provide the manpower to cover the 180-odd km from Tripoli to the Tunisian border.

However, at the time of writing, the Fursan Janzour Brigade (Janzour Knights) based in Janzour and who patrol part of the coastal road around Janzour have refuted that the whole coastal road has been reopened or that it is now ‘’safe’’.

They said that PC/GNA has taken no new measures to ensure the safety of the coastal road for users and warned drivers to be cautious. The Janzour Knights’ objection further underscores the need for political ”deals” in Libya to be comprehensive as any party left out or aggrieved can easily act as spoiler.

It will be recalled that some motorists have reported having to take detours varying from 3 to 6 hours to get to Zawyia and beyond – a journey that normally takes about an hour.

On another level, if the deal for the reopening of the coastal road brokered by the Serraj-led PC/GNA holds, it will be a welcomed ”quick victory” for the internationally recognized government, which has been losing legitimacy as it has proved ineffective since its arrival in March.

It has failed to solve the problems of insecurity, high crime and kidnapping, shortages in supplies, power cuts, medicine shortages, high prices and inflation, a cash-crisis at the banks, and a foreign exchange crisis – to name a few.

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