On 6 April, 28 Eritrean and 5 Nigerian women and children who were captured and enslaved by ISIS in Sirte were released from prison in Misrata, where they had been held since the Misratan-led al-Bunyan al-Marsus forces ousted ISIS from the city in December. The women and children were captured by ISIS fighters when they seized Sirte in early 2015. After escaping for Sirte, they detained by Misratan forces while they were investigated to see if they had been working with ISIS.
The Libyan attorney-general’s office announced that it had cleared the women of any wrongdoing in mid-February, but their release was delayed for several more weeks. Following their release on 6 April, the women have been handed over to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who is expected to facilitate their resettlement or repatriation depending on their asylum statuses.
On 10 April, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya printed images of what it claims is a secret prison in the Ganfuda district of Benghazi. It claims people were imprisoned and tortured by jihadi fighters in the prison. Mohammed al-Zwai, a spokesperson for the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces that recently ousted the jihadi fighters from Ganfuda, is quoted as saying, “After combing the mines in the Ganfouda area, which was liberated from terrorist groups, the picture became clearer, as prisons were found in Ganfouda.”
The areas of Sabri and Souq al-Hout in central Benghazi are the final enclaves controlled by local jihadist fighters in the city and conflict is likely to intensify there as the LNA ramps up airstrikes and artillery against the areas.
In Derna, although sporadic clashes continue between the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC) and the Libyan National Army (LNA), local observers indicate that there has been a significant easing of tensions between the DMSC and the LNA recently. There are hopes that a peaceful settlement between the two forces can be found.
To read about the international community’s responses to jihadis in Libya this week, click here. To read the Eye on ISIS team’s explanation of the developments within the anti-ISIS Coalition of Libyan militias, click here. To read all four sections of this week’s Eye on ISIS in Libya report, click here. To subscribe to receive this report weekly into your inbox, sign up on the subscribe page.