Tripoli, 12 May:
Fighting broke out this evening on the outskirts of Bani Walid between government forces and local fighters opposed to the NTC and . . .[restrict]the revolution.
Almost uniquely in Libya, Bani Walid has since January continued to support the ousted regime of Muammar Qaddafi despite the fact that it once was home to one of the biggest abortive uprisings against him. The uprising was brutally crushed.
In January, the town was taken over by forces supporting the former regime. As a result NTC supporters, notably the local council and the military council, were forced to flee to Misrata. Since then Bani Walid has become a centre of counter-revolutionary activity. Last month, four members of Zliten military council were kidnapped by Bani Walid brigadesmen. Last week the founder of the Bani Walid council, Mohammed Abu Kraa was seized in Tripoli.
The government has now moved to put an end to Bani Walid’s rebellion. On Thursday, Interior Ministry forces were sent to help pacify the area. However, reinforcements from Misrata were blocked by from entering Bani Walid by sympathizers in Tarhouna.
On Friday, government sources stated that a large number of troops from the Libyan Shield Brigade which is under the Ministry of Defence, were now stationed in Tarhouna and the area between it and Bani Walid. The sources said that the primary objective was to put an end to arms smuggling and illegal immigration which had become very active in the area. They denied that the troops were there in order to enter the city of Beni Walid and cleanse it of Qaddafi supporters. However, it was later learned that two members of the Libya Shield Brigade from Misrata had been killed in clashes in Bani Walid.