By Maha Sulaiman and Aymen Amzein.
Benghazi, 6 June 2016:
Five soldiers from the Libyan National Army (LNA) have been killed in fighting . . .[restrict]east of Derna over the past two days between the LNA and mujahideen forces belonging to the Derna Revolutionaries Shoura Council (DRSC), according to the LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari. However, fighting – at Al-Dahr Al-Ahmar, west of Derna on the road to Ain Mara – stopped today for “strategic reasons,” he added, claiming that the LNA had taken ground from what he described as “Al-Qaeda” forces.
The fighting had included air strikes by LNA jet fighters and helicopters, he said.
The LNA regularly describes the DRSC as Al-Qaeda.
A separate LNA source , however, said that seven of its soldiers had died in the past three days, another ten had been injured and one was missing in the fighting.
For its part, the DRSC counter-claimed, saying that on Saturday it had repulsed an LNA attack at Al-Dahr Al-Ahmar and managed to seize ammunition and vehicles. Today it claimed that last night, LNA aircraft bombed the Wadi Al-Naqa district some ten kilkomtres west of the cenre of Derna but caused no casualties.
Despite the clashes between the LNA and the DRSC, members of the Thinni government, which supports the former, have been in the town carrying out official duties without any apparent problems.
Yesterday, Thinni’s interior minister, Mohamed Fakhri, opened the Derna new offices of the security directorate. According to the Libyan news agency LANA based in Beida, the ceremony was attended by local police, army officers and members of the local council as well as by a number of members of the House of Representatives and local tribal elders.
Sunday also saw a visit by the head of the examinations board in the Thinni government’s education ministry. He inspected school buildings to see damage resulting from fighting in the town and met with local education officials to discuss the restoration of normal schooling.
LANA reported that the local officials accepted the legitimacy of the Thinni government. [/restrict]