UN Special Force to Libya approved Wednesday, staff evacuation possible

Published November 28th, 2013 - 07:17 GMT
The UN is sending in a special force in response to escalating clashes in Benghazi and in the capital of Tripoli in recent weeks (Esam Omran Al Fetori/Reuters)
The UN is sending in a special force in response to escalating clashes in Benghazi and in the capital of Tripoli in recent weeks (Esam Omran Al Fetori/Reuters)

The United Nations announced Wednesday that it plans to send a 235-member special force to Libya in order to provide protection in light of the recent rise in attacks throughout the country, according to Agence France-Presse.


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon requested the order to send the force, and the UN Security Council (UNSC) approved the request Wednesday. In a letter to the UNSC, Ban said that UN staff are "at increased risk of attack" due to growing tensions and "the lack of reliable national security forces."


It is expected that the special force will be formed from other UN peacekeeping missions and will be based in Tripoli.  In response to the decision to base the force in the capital, "This would act as a deterrent against extremist elements who are not welcoming of foreign personnel," Ban said.


The special force may also be trained to evacuate the 200 staff of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), which has been assisting Tripoli with its political transition since the oust of Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.


Many embassies and foreign offices have closed their doors in Libya, particularly since the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in September 2012 in which four people, including the ambassador, died.


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