Libya is to establish a special security force to protect diplomats following a gun attack on an Italian consul in Benghazi. "We are discussing putting in place a force that would look after diplomats. There are also plans to protect foreigners working for foreign companies," said a defense ministry source. "The idea is it would be mixed between police and army but would likely come under the command of the defence ministry," the source added.
On January 12, an unidentified gunmen opened fire on Guido De Sanctis in Benghazi. Although the diplomat was unhurt, the attack set things in motion as it reminded Tripoli of the September 11 attack on the US mission. The act of violence killed US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other American citizens.
According to Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi, the attack was "an attempt to destabilise the institutions of the new Libya". More than a year after overthrowing the country's former leader Mauammar Gaddafi, security in Libya remains precarious.
"Even when the force is established, diplomats need to take care of themselves. This is not Switzerland," said the defense ministry official.