By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 9 December 2014:
Units from the Misratan-based Libya Shield Central brigade are reported to . . .[restrict]have arrived last night in Sabratha to reinforce Libya Dawn in the strategically crucial battle with the Libya National Army for control of the western coastal road. Some 150 to 200 vehicles are said to have been sent.
The dispatch of the Misratan forces follows the news that leading Libya Dawn commander and head of the main Sabratha military force, Omar Mukhtar Madhuni, was killed in clashes south of Sabratha yesterday. There are also unconfirmed claims by the the Zintanis that they are now in control of the neighbouring town of Sorman.
A former member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and from Sabratha, Madhuni had been imprisoned by Qaddafi at Abu Sleem. His brother was killed by the regime. During the revolution, he collected together a brigade of local fighters, now the basis of the current Madhuni Brigade, and since then has headed Sabratha Military Council. He was elected last June as a member of the town’s municipal council.
The Madhuni Brigade is part of the Libyan Revolutionaries’ Operations Room, set up by Nuri Abu Sahmain last year to secure the capital and which is now the main “Islamist” grouping within Libya Dawn. It is a key element in the current fighting west of Tripoli.
Last month, the brigade’s camp outside Sabratha was bombed in an LNA air raid. Madhuni himself was reportedly captured some weeks previously near Ajdabiya but then released in a deal that remains veiled in secrecy.
There are meanwhile unconfirmed reports that the brother of Mohamed Al-Kilani, the controversial Islamist congressman from Zawia who was killed fighting against the Wershefana in September, was captured in clashes in the area earlier this week.