By Ayman Amzein.
Benghazi, 30 May 2016:
Two units of the central region Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG) from Ajdabiya have moved towards within . . .[restrict]a few kilometres of Nufliya and Ben Jawad. A source in the PFG close to its leader Ibrahim Jadhran told the Libya Herald that it was “almost” in control of Ben Jawad and very close to Nufliya.
Although IS forces were reported to have withdrawn earlier from the two towns, the reason for the delay in entering them, the source explained, was because the area was heavily mined.
“It is very difficult,” he said, adding that two PFG fighters had been killed today in a mine explosion near Ben Jawad and another seriously wounded. Another report says four were killed and 16 injured.
Other reports speak of continuing heavy clashes around Nufliya between the PFG and IS. It was captured by the so-called Islamic State (IS) in February 2015 and Ben Jawad in January this year.
The two PFG units have taken separate routes towards their targets, although the two places are just 30 kilometres apart. Those heading towards Ben Jawad have taken the coast road, those to Nufliya taking a more southerly route using desert tracks.
Nufliya itself is 140 kilomtres east of Sirte, the main IS base.
Yesterday, forces that are part of the Bunyan Marsous operation moving from the west of Sirte claimed to have taken the Khaleej power plant 20 kilometres west of Sirte which Misratan forces abandoned a year ago.
Today, the Bunyan Marsous operations room (BMOR) called on air support from Misrata to take out a truck, believed to be a suicide bomb, heading towards the power plant. It was reported destroyed and those inside killed. Two other vehicle said to belong to IS were also attacked on the main road between Sirte and the power station.
According to BMOR spokesman Mohamed Al-Ghasri, the aim is to encircle Sirte. It is not clear, however, if this is to be done in collaboration with PFG.
The central region PFG supports the Government of National Accord and the Presidency Council which set up the BMOR. For its part, the BMOR Facebook page indicates that the two are working together, putting out reports about the PFG members killed in the mine explosion
However, asked if the PFG and the BMOR were now coordinating their plans, the PFG source not only said he did not know, he added that it would not allow Misratan troops to move east to Nufliya or Ben Jawad.
The PFG still strongly supports Cyrenaica and federalism. [/restrict]