By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 21 April 2017:
Efforts by Presidency Council local government minister Bidad Gansu to find a peaceful solution to the standoff at Tamenhint airbase between Misrata’s Third Force and the pro-LNA forces under General Mohamed Ben Nayal are not encouraging, one of the mayors involved the mediation efforts has told the Libya Herald. He asked not to be named.
The Third Force, with the support of members of the Hasawna tribe led by Colonel Ahmed Al-Hasnawi, are currently holding the airbase, some 30 kilometres north-east of Sebha. Ben Nayel’s 12th Brigade is besieging it.
Ben Nayel has demanded that the Third Force withdraw first before any discussions can take place on what happens next, the mayor said.
For his part, Third Force commander Jamal Treiki continues to insist that his men will not pull out unless ordered to do so by the PC. Meanwhile, in a fresh indication that there will be renewed fighting, there are reports of major LNA reinforcements, including Brigade 127, arriving at Ben Nayal’s base operating base at Brak Al-Shatti, ahead of a new assault on Tamenhint.
“It is very difficult to solve the problem”, the mayoral source said, pointing out that there has been a ceasefire for the past few days at Tamenhint while efforts continued to try and find a solution.
Gansu, himself from Sebha and tasked by the PC to end the current crisis, arrived in Sebha yesterday to try and broker a deal. His efforts are being supported by a number of southern mayors including those of Sebha, Brak Al-Shatti, Buwanis (which covers the Tamenhint area), Al-Shwerif and Jufra.
More talks are due again tomorrow, Saturday, but there are fears that they will fail.