A United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) convoy, traveling from a detention center in Surman to Tripoli, was attacked by an armed group near Zawiyah on Wednesday, June 28, at approximately 14:30 (local time). At least one of the armored vehicles in the convoy was disabled in the attack and the occupants were taken by the armed group. Following interventions from local elders and officials, the UN personnel were released. UNSMIL has confirmed the incident and reported that no UN staff were harmed. Initial unconfirmed reports suggest that the armed group originally demanded the release of prisoners recently arrested by the RADA Special Deterrence Force in Tripoli; however, the staff were reportedly released without any ransom deals or payments.
The security situation in Libya remains precarious, and with three competing would-be governments, there is little to no sign of a return of relative stability in the near-term. The area of Zawiyah is a complex operating environment and armed clashes occur with regularity between militia groups vying for supremacy in the district. Human trafficking and fuel smuggling are prevalent throughout the area and any interference in this lucrative criminal activity is often met with violent reprisals. The Coastal Highway, which runs between Surman and Tripoli through Zawiyah has also been plagued with violence over recent years and only reopened in April after nearly two years of closure due to insecurity.
The security environment in Libya remains complex. Although travel is permissible in some areas, other areas should be considered strictly off limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.