By George Grant.
Misrata, 18 October:
Forces from the national army are en-route to Bani Walid and due to enter the town today, . . .[restrict]following a direct order from Chief of Staff Yusuf Mangoush.
The forces will seek to enter Bani Walid on the road from Tarhouna, to the north, the only main route into the town from which attacks have not yet been launched.
Leaders in Tripoli hope the army will be permitted to enter Bani Walid peacefully, following an agreement brokered with leaders there on Saturday.
It is understood that the army will attempt to enforce Resolution No. 7 of the National Congress, which authorises government forces to arrest those suspected of the murder of Omran Shaban and others wanted for crimes associated with the former regime if Bani Walid fails to surrender them voluntarily.
To date, no investigation into the Shaban incident is believed to have been launched inside Bani Walid.
Earlier today, there were also plans for National Congress President Mohamed Magarief to pay another visit to the town, but these were cancelled after it was concluded the visit would likely serve no useful purpose.
“We sincerely hope they will be allowed to enter peacefully”, said Mohammed Bashir, leader of the loyalist Bani Walid local council in Tripoli.
“Once they arrive, the plan will be to enforce Resolution No. 7. We hope this will also stop the attacks that have been taking place on Bani Walid”.
Yesterday, assaults took place on the town from three separate fronts, from the south and the east, which left at least ten people dead and scores more injured.
As with all previous assaults on Bani Walid, the attacks were carried out without direct instructions from Mangoush by brigades that have been stationed around the town since the end of September.
Yesterday, Mangoush issued a statement calling for restraint on all sides and declared the readiness of the national army to enter Bani Walid “in order to capture those wanted for justice… and to allow official army units to extend state control”.
The statement went on to affirm that the move followed the visit of the elders’ delegation to Bani Walid “after conveying a message of the city’s willingness, and the commitment of the city’s social council, to implement GNC Resolution No. 7”. [/restrict]