By Jamal Adel.
Tripoli, 12 February 2014:
The army’s 319 Brigade, known as the Omar Mukhtar Brigade, have left Benghazi to secure vital . . .[restrict]electricity and water facilities in the troubled Sarir oilfield area.
The spokesman for the General Chief of Staff, Ali Al-Shaikhi, told the Libya Herald that the brigade had been dispatched to set up checkpoints on the Kufra-Ajdabiya road, securing the area against tribal clashes which have disrupted power and water supplies to other parts of the country.
The arrival of the force had been agreed by Tebu-manned Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG) from the 25 Brigade and Zwai tribesmen from the 427 Brigade one week ago following mediation by a government-led group of officials.
The two brigades had been engaged in sporadic fighting in the area for over a month which forced the closure of Sarir Power Station. The closing of power plant and the cutting of power lines during clashes caused power cuts in Tripoli and Benghazi. The power shortages had the knock-on effect of greatly reducimg the capacity of the man-made river leading to water shortages in Benghazi, Ajdabiya and Sirte.
Shaikhi said the deployment operation would be made gradually according to military regulations and as circumstances dictated . He added that there were also plans to bring in fresh PFG units in the near future.
The arrival of the Omar Mukhtar Brigade should result in the electricity lines being restored and the Man-Made River pumps restarting. Employees at GECOL, the electricity company, had refused to carry out repairs until the area was secure. [/restrict]