By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 14 April 2014:
Gunmen from the Shoura Council of Islamic Youth in Derna, which has declared its allegiance to . . .[restrict]the Islamic State (IS), have managed to seized four tanker loads of petrol that were being sent for the town’s petrol stations by the state–owned petrol distribution company, Brega Marketing. According to a Derna resident, who did not want to be identified, the incident happened yesterday at the Al-Hilah checkpoint south of Derna, manned by Libyan army supporters.
According to the source, when the tankers arrived at the checkpoint the guards refused to let them pass, firing their guns into the air. However, the drivers said they had permission from the army to deliver the fuel. At this point, it appears, IS fighters who had somehow heard about the dispute arrived and started firing at the guards. They are said to have then seized the four tankers as well as three of the guards’ vehicles, one of which was later set on fire, returning with their booty to the town to celebrate.
Despite the army’s attempts to isolate Derna, it appears to be a very porous siege. People are moving in and out all the time, the resident said – a statement borne out by the ease with which a Libya Herald reporter managed to visit friends in the town in December.
According to the resident, Brega Marketing has an office in the town which regularly requests supplies of fuel be sent in. The company obliges although the amounts are said to be much reduced because of the situation. “It was getting 20 tankers a week before,” the resident said. “Now it’s getting four.” Brega Marketing is also sending in fuel for the town’s power station. The only impediment to this arriving has been the reluctance of drivers to make the journey.
Another problem, according to the Derna resident, is that those at the checkpoints] are nor regular army. “They are militiamen allied to the army. They are not organised or structured and do not always follow army orders. They do what they want. As a result, the LNA cannot control the area. All it can do is use the air force.” [/restrict]