Two car bombings in Libya on 19 August have raised security fears in the country as it embarks on an ambitious reconstruction programme to repair the damage from years of neglect in basic infrastructure and last year’s civil war.
Security services have made a total of 32 arrests in connection to the blasts that occurred one day before the anniversary of Tripoli’s fall to rebel fighters in 2011. Police say that the suspects are part of a network loyal to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The bombs exploded at two different locations. The first went off at dawn near Libya’s interior ministry building and the other went off simultaneously at the former military academy for women.
No casualties were reported from the interior ministry, but the other explosion killed two people and injured at least four more.
Libya has recently gone through a period of transition where power has been handed over to a newly elected assembly, but reports of escalating violence is a cause of concern for the Libyan government. The security services in Libya have said that they have found it difficult to disarm militia from 2011’s civil war.
The bombings will also come as a worry to international companies who have started to re-establish operations in the country now that stability was returning.
France’s Total has recently said that it is working hard to ramp up its oil production in the North African state to pre-war levels with National Oil Company Libya (NOC Libya). Total’s oil production in Libya is about 55,000 barrels-a-day.
Total also stated that it was aware of the safety concerns, but had so far been able to work safely in both Tripoli and its existing oil field concessions.
According to the Middle East projects tracker MEED Projects there are $5.3bn worth of project at the study, design or tender phase in Libya. All but $450m of these schemes are at the study phase however indicating that progress is still slow in the country.