By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 1 January 2016:
A high-profile Misratan militia leader is understood to have declared Misrata Municipal Council out of business and said that the city should now be run by its military council.
The statement by Saleh Badi of Al-Marsa Brigade comes as the council seeks to close down militant Islamist militia camps and prevent boats taking supplies to Benghazi.
Resistance to the Libyan National Army in Benghazi for the last two years has been sustained by the regular maritime delivery of supplies from Misrata.
However on two occasions, a pair of vessels being used on these runs has been blown up and sunk alongside the same dock at the Libyan Iron and Steel Works. Islamist leaders have recently taken to meeting near the steel works which lie to the east of the city. It remains unclear how the boats were sabotaged but the first attack appears to have been carried out with limpet mines.
This has prompted the “Benghazi Shoura Council”, which is currently located in Misrata, to protest that it has no relations with Islamic State nor Al-Qaeda terrorism, the Muslim Brotherhood nor the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
The BSC insisted that it had nothing to do with political and regional conflicts and said that the council’s move was aimed at killing off “all honest revolutionary fighters”.
The statement by Badi is unlikely to unduly worry Misrata municipal council leaders. They are believed to have the support of the vast majority of people in the city. Significantly, the minority opposed to them and their efforts at resolving the crisis in Libya do not meet in the city but near the irons and steel works.
The BRSC is virtually identical to the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council whose military wing outside Benghazi is the Benghazi Defence Brigades. Its fighters are now surrounded with their IS and Ansar Al-Sharia allies in three small areas of Benghazi.
Unlike IS and Ansar Al-Sharia, the BRSC has not been declared a terrorist group.