On 1 February, Brg. Mohammed al-Ghosri, the spokesperson for the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Minister of Defense (MoD) who was formerly the head of the al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) operations room, was pictured with a Benghazi Defence Brigades fighter in Hun, a city around 300km south of Sirte. Local sources in Jufra report a new mobilization by GNA/Islamist affiliated groups who reportedly plan to attack Ras Lanuf port in the coming weeks. On 4 February, photos emerged apparently showing forces gathering at an army base in Jufra. The army base is believed to be used by the GNA and Islamist-affiliated groups connected with the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB). The nature of the relationship between the GNA’s Misratan BM force, the GNA’s (MoD) Mahdi al-Barghati, and these groups is still not understood.
Rivalries between militias of various factions in Tripoli are escalating, with various rival armed groups implicated in clashes, kidnappings and armed assault. On 30 January, militants kidnapped the head of the Budget Department in the Ministry of Finance. He was reportedly released on 4 February. On 31 January, a member of the Audit Bureau was kidnapped by unknown militants in connection with an investigation he was conducting into corruption at the Ministry of Health. On 31 January, intermittent gunfire took place between nominally pro and anti Government of National Accord (GNA) militias in the Abu Saleem area in central Tripoli. Tripoli’s security directorate issued figures which detailed 482 armed car thefts, 293 kidnappings (including 32 women) and 503 armed assaults on shops in the capital in January.
On 2 February, intensive clashes broke out between local militias from Janzour and Wershefana, west of Tripoli. 12 were killed in these clashes and on 4 February shelling took place against both towns. On 6 February, local negotiations between the militants, apparently mediated by Tarhuna and Zawiyya, managed to calm the situation. On 31 January, a gun battle between two rival militias erupted in Gasr Ben Ghashir area, south of Tripoli. After the clashes, one of the armed groups attacked the al-Afia clinic on 4 February and executed three of the injured militants which were receiving treatment there. The attackers held hospital staff hostage as they hunted the injured fighters in different wards. The three dead militants (Malek, Reyad, Mohammed) are all from the Marghani tribe, and two of them are sons of the head of Tarhouna joint forces. The attacking militia, called the ‘Peace Keeping Force’ is a rival force from Tarhuna.