Price hikes, security top Ramadan worries in Libya

By Essam Mohamed


Ramadan has a different flavour this year in Libya. Security concerns are growing as fast as the price of milk, meat and other staples.

Economy Minister Mustafa Abu Fanas tried to pre-empt the price hikes by saying that the country had 6-month supplies of certain commodities. ”We’re always following up on stocks to ensure we have enough,” Abu Fanas added.

However, Jalal al-Zatrini, owner of a big food supermarket in Tripoli, said prices changed one week before Ramadan, and milk and its derivatives went up by a quarter dinar.


“The problem is that markets are very crowded because of families’ failure to get their needs well before Ramadan; most families get them at the end of Shaaban although they can get some before that,” said Nahla Bin Mahmoud, a 40-year-old housewife.

“These things aren’t affected by anything except employees waiting for their salaries,” she said.

The increase in the price of meat has also been noticeable. The economy minister attributed this to attacks on a number of farms during the revolution, the death of livestock because of a dependency on foreign labourers who left the country, and also because of Libya’s dependency on importing large quantities of sheep and camels, which stopped.

“We have a plan as of now for Eid al-Adha to provide up to 1 million head of sheep, and the Cabinet has approved the Ministry of Economy’s plan in this regard,” Abu Fanas said.

Kamal Adin al-Maslati, 35, noted that prices for meat had gone up “by two dinars and more”.

“It’s difficult to control price hikes these days, due to the spread of arms and inability of control agencies, municipal guards and judicial officers to follow up on prices or do their jobs seriously without fear because they lack resources,” he told Magharebia.

“I think that it’ll take some time before prices stabilise and the army and police are activated,” he added.

“The biggest thing worrying me is what’s happening in Benghazi, which I hope will be stabilised now that the special operations troops have been deployed,” said Youssef al-Jebali, a 62-year-old retiree.

“I hope they will put an end to security breaches so people can live the joy of Eid and life go on. I also hope that the government will declare a state of emergency during Eid and be cautious,” he said.

Laila Salem a 35-year-old Tripoli resident, said: “We are worried but it will not stop us from celebrating Eid.”

“What bothers us are the power outages and the unknown that could hit us due to the absence of the police and the army,” added Khalifa al-Mahmoudi a clothing store owner

Still, he said, sales were good.


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Libyans react to Benghazi assassinations

By Essam Mohamed in Tripoli and Asma Elourfi in Benghazi for Magharebia – 29/07/2013

Demonstrators took to the streets of several Libyan cities following dawn prayers on Saturday (July 27th) to denounce several recent assassinations in Benghazi, including that of prominent political activist Abdessalam Musmari.

In Tripoli, several streets were blocked off, and hundreds of demonstrators gathered on Martyrs’ Square to condemn the murders of Musmari, Major General Salem Alsarah, Colonel Khatab Younes Al-Zwyi and a policeman from the Hadayeq police station.

Protesters demanded that all political parties be closed for not being constitutional, as they were formed before the Constitution was drawn.

Demonstrators carried banners calling for the fall of parties: “Down with the government of the Muslim Brotherhood,” they chanted.

“We want army and police… Libya is in trouble… No to parties … Libya only,” they added.

The offices of the Justice and Construction Party (JCP) and the National Forces Alliance (NFA) were closed. About a hundred protesters stormed JCP headquarters in Tripoli, inflicting much damage before moving on to those of the NFA.

Musmari was killed after leaving Friday prayers at the Abu Ghoula mosque in Benghazi’s Birkah neighbourhood.

“He had a bullet directly in his heart,” Benghazi Joint Security Forces (BJSF) spokesman Mohamed Hejazi told the Libya Herald. “This was a very accurate attack and the BJSF thinks that it could have been the work of a sniper.”

There were no witnesses to the assault.

A founder of the February 17th Coalition, Musmari was known for his opposition to armed militias and to the Muslim Brotherhood. He frequently appeared on television to call on Benghazi residents to demand more security. One of his last appearances was on Libya 1st Channel’s ‘The Awakening of a Homeland”, during which he discussed the country’s lack of security.

He had already been physically attacked last May after denouncing the activity of armed militias and their siege of the ministries of justice and interior.

Libyans were very much saddened by Musmari’s assassination.

“He was a patriot and spoke the truth at a time when voices are being silenced,” 34-year-old engineer Nasser al-Obeidi said.

“Libya is on its way to chaos,” fellow Benghazi resident Mohammed Idris al-Rafadi said angrily. “O people of Libya! What are you doing? Let us say, is there a reasonable approach to save the homeland?”

Saturday also marked the anniversary of the death of General Abdel Fattah Younes. His case is still unresolved.

“If the circumstances of the assassination of Musmari and its perpetrators are not uncovered, similar operations against others will take place,” Salem Fitouri cautioned.





“Time to help ev’ryone else”

African states partner to assist jobless youth

By Jemal Omar in Nouakchott for Magharebia – 07/06/2013

Morocco, Tunisia, Niger, Senegal and Mauritania are working together to help unemployed young people in French-speaking countries gain the skills to create their own enterprises.

To get the Youth Integration Fund initiative off the ground, the Conference of Sport and Youth Ministers of Francophone Countries (CONFEJES) organised a week-long training workshop in Nouakchott for the national envoys.

“We seek to help member states create job opportunities for young people and integrate them in active life,” the fund’s Mauritania co-ordinator, Ahmed Ould Beibeni, said on Friday (June 7th).

The people targeted by the training project are between 16 and 30 years old, the most vulnerable period in life in terms of susceptibility to influences, he said.

“Member states are trying as much as they can to protect youths against extremism, deviation and involvement in criminal acts, and therefore, financing focuses on youths in densely-populated cities and poor rural areas,” Ould Beibani said.

“We have about 10 projects from each country going on in various fields, from agriculture to traditional industry,” he added.

The representative of the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports said the workshops would help young people in Morocco understand “entrepreneur culture and know the mechanisms for setting up projects to get out of their current economic situation”.

“This is in addition to sharing the experiences of youths from other countries in northern and western Africa,” Rachid Bin Tibi added.

He talked about the causes of Moroccan youth deviation, which he identified as “unemployment, illiteracy, lack of training, and systematic exclusion”.

“We want to avoid such things so youths can obtain the personal and professional life skills, feel their importance as human beings, and realise that they are part of the solution to problems, rather than a source,” he said.

In Tunisia, “the unemployment rate is now 15% while the growth rate is 4%, a rate that can’t absorb unemployed people”, said Faouzi Boudhla of Tunisia’s Ministry of Youths and Sports.

“Another concern for Tunisian young people is that most victims of unemployment are illiterate; something that makes them prone to extremism,” he added. The Tunisian official said this week’s Nouakchott meeting helped national co-ordinators develop their knowledge.

“Its results will be circulated around Tunisia to stimulate youths to present labour-intensive projects so we can relatively reduce unemployment,” he added.

According to Hajji Abdallah Lam, national co-ordinator for youth integration in Senegal, the training will be especially effective because it targets unemployed people “whose circumstances didn’t allow them to receive university degrees”.

“This will help alleviate the burden for governments, because they usually absorb university degree holders,” Lam said. “Opportunities must be created for shepherds, farmers and others.”

Creating and encouraging small enterprises will actually help distance youths from extremism and terrorist groups, he added.

Cyrenaica declares autonomy

By Essam Mohamed

Libya’s oil-rich eastern region declared self-governance on Saturday (June 1st). A day after the announcement by the Cyrenaica Transitional Council, the General National Congress (GNC) discussed the issue and promised to release a statement condemning the declaration.

“Cyrenaica is a federal territory within the framework of the Libyan state, and as of Saturday June 1st, will start to run its own affairs,” said Cyrenaica council chief Ahmed Zubair al-Senussi, speaking in the eastern city of Marj.

لتلقي التعليم في مختلف التخصصات ضمن مشروع وطني طموح يسأل الوطنية Libya seeks to rehabilitate thwar

Security 2013-05-16

Libya’s General National Congress (GNC) approved a plan last month to train 30,000 young citizens in various disciplines.

The GNC spokesperson confirmed the news April 16th, adding that the legislative body was working to allocate a separate budget for the project.