By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 29 April 2016:
Residents in Derna took to the streets today to protest continuing airstrikes in the town by . . .[restrict]the Libyan National Army (LNA). However, they also congratulated the army for its recent victories against the so-called Islamic State (IS) last week not just in Benghazi but on the outskirts of Derna itself. Burning an Italian flag, they condemned too what they said was Italian and UN interference in Libya. The Libya army would achieve the victory in Sirte, they stated.
Six people, variously said to be civilians or as members of the Shoura Council of the Mujahindeen of Derna (SCMD), are reported to have been killed in air strikes in the past two days – at the police academy and other locations in the town.
The police academy is under the control of the SCMD.
Meanwhile, the LNA says that it has found 50 unmarked graves in Fataieh, south east of the town, previously controlled by the jihadists. The graves are thought to be those of IS fighters.
The Red Crescent has been contacted to investigate and take DNA sample from the bodies in order to try and identify them although it is accepted that, with a significant number of IS members from outside Libya, this may be impossible to do.
As Derna was previously divided between the Shoura Council forces and those from IS, it is now divided between the former and the LNA. Despite the air strikes, however, there is currently no ground fighting between the two.
Nonetheless, despite the insecurity and the military situation (and, as elsewhere in Libya, the shortage of cash in the banks), life in Derna continues as normal. This week has seen a new play put on in the town, a new exhibition of plastic arts and the opening of new offices of the local natural history institution. [/restrict]