By Olfa Aldolsi.
Tunis, 18 May 2017:
Forces entrusted with securing Sirte are severely underfunded, according to a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence in Tripoli.
Security in the former stronghold of the so-called Islamic State (IS) is currently still mainly in the hands of Misrata-led Bunyan Marsous (BM) Operations Room troops as well as Sirte’s largely homegrown force, 604 Battalion.
Brigadier Mohamed Al-Ghasri, who previously served as the BM spokesman, said today that neither Presidency Council nor its government of national accord had paid any benefits or grants to the forces protecting the city. Considering the sacrifices made by BM as they ousted IS last year, with 750 fighters killed and another 3,000 injured, the lack of funding could not go on much longer, he said. If not dealt with, he added ominously, they might be forced to take action.
He did not explain what this meant – a withdrawal or something more drastic.
In January, tribal elders in Sirte accused BM fighters of looting, seizing local properties and preventing former residents, displaced by fighting, from returning home.