By Maha Sulaiman.
Benghazi, 21 April 2016:
The last remnants of the Ansar Al-Sharia are blockaded in Gwarsha and Ganfouda and cannot escape, . . .[restrict]Libyan army chief of staff spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mismari has told the Libya Herald. “All roads in and out are blocked”, he said, adding that the way to the sea was now fully in army hands. They were a lot of snipers in Gwarsha, he said, and they were a problem, but predicted that the army would capture the two areas “in a few days”.
Al-Nabaa TV has claimed, however, that a number of fighters from the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council which is dominated by Ansar, have moved back into Garyounis, supposedly cleared of them by the army earlier this week. The TV station has until now supported the militants in Benghazi against the army.
One army commander, Colonel Abdullah Al-Shaafi, who headed the Hurriya Training Centre, was shot dead yesterday in Gwarsha by a sniper. Earlier reports that he had been killed by a mine were incorrect, Mismari said.
Mines “are the biggest problem”, he said. Four commanders alone had been killed in the past few days by mines, among them yesterday Serraj Eltera who acted as spokesman for the military engineers. Just today, it is reported that 10 soldiers were killed in mine explosions.
The army lacked sufficient both sufficient equipment and engineers to detect and disable mines, Mismari said.
Ansar Al-Sharia and its allies heavily mined and booby trapped places they occupied. The Hawari cement works, despite now being cleared of militants, is carpeted with mines which, the army says, has been the main reason why it has held back from fully entering it.