By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 22 March 2014:
Oil blockader Ibrahim Jadhran has suffered his second major setback in . . .[restrict]a week. Despite threats and clashes, in which a number of men were injured, his forces have failed to dislodge troops sent yesterday to a military base in his home base of Ajdabiya to challenge him.
Earlier this week, the Morning Glory oil tanker which had illegally filled up with oil at Sirdra terminal, was captured by the US navy and escorted back to Libya. It arrived at Zawia today.
Yesterday, the Beida-based Ali Hassan Al-Jabber Brigade headed by Colonel Mohamed Bughafir and the largely Zwai Jazeera Martyr Brigade (Battalion No. 121) moved to Ajdabiya and took over the Hanyia military base in the town.
“They went following a decision made by the commander of Petroleum Facilities Guard, Idriss Bukhamada, who ordered Colonel Mohamed Bughafir from Beida to replace Jadhran,” a source in the Jazeera Brigade told the Libya Herald.
According to the source, the move infuriated Jadhran – all the more so, apparently, because Bughafir is not from the Magharba tribe.
He demanded Bugahfir withdraw by 9 pm last night but leave all his weapons and equipment behind. Bughafir refused, reportedly saying that he would stay put unless ordered by the Chief of Staff. Jedhran then demanded he leave by 11pm.
At that point the head of the Magharba tribe, Salah al-Ataiwish, reportedly mediated, asking Bughafir to leave and promising that no one would touch the base and that the two brigades could take their weapons with them.
This Abu Ghafir accepted. But as they were pulling out, the two are said to have come under attack from Jadhran’s forces who did not accept that they leave with their weapons and equipment. It was during the fighting that as many as 15 men from both sides were reported injured and nine captured, five by Bughafir’s forces, four by Jadhran’s.
During a ceasefire then mediated by Ataiwish and the Ajdabiya Red Crescent, further troops arrived from Beida to support of Bughafir with the result that he decided to return to the Hanyia base.
Intermittent shooting has since continued throughout the day, but no further casualties have been reported.
The Chief of Staff has warned armed groups in Ajdabiya against approaching the two brigades because are part of the Libyan army.
The Jazeera Brigade source added that whatever the discussions between Jadhran and elders from several Libyan towns, the two units would remain at the Hanyia base. [/restrict]