By Sami Zaptia.
London, 10 June 2017:
A United Nations report has revealed that the state-owned Libyan Iron and Steel Company (LISCO) based in Misrata has provided a base for the recruitment of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC). The report states that BRSC members received money and weapons at the LISCO site.
The revelation came in the UN Libyan Experts Panel final report presented to the Security Council dated 1 June but released this week.
The report said (page 13) that ‘‘Recruitment by the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) from Misratah continued until at least January 2017. The Libyan Iron and Steel Company (LISCO) plant is a gathering point for the fighters (see annex 14)’’.
The report goes on to reveal that ‘‘Here, they receive their first salary (2,000 dinars) and a weapon. A Misratan businessman, Ashraf ben Ismail, has supervised the medical transport and care of Benghazi fighters, including members of Ansar al Sharia Benghazi (QDe.146)’’.
However, the report says that ‘‘In December 2016, the Misratah Municipal Council issued an order to disrupt any military support to the Shura Council. As a response, alternative “supply chains” of fighters were sought, including from the southern Mahamid tribe’’.
The UN report provides photographic evidence of the exact location of the BRSC LISCO base.
In a caption to the photographs (page 99) of aerial view, the report says that ‘‘The plant is in close proximity of the company’s port terminal. The imagery below shows a square “military zone”, in which arms and ammunition are stored. It is also a gathering and starting point for the fighters joining armed groups in Benghazi’’.
The report adds (page 100) that ‘‘According to several contacts in Misrata, the LISCO plant is a key hub for the military support provided to the BRSC. The same sources report that one of the BRSC supply routes from Misrata to Benghazi originates from the Hun arms storage (Juffra region)’’.
‘‘The ammunition is transported by land from Hun to the LISCO plant in Misrata. The equipment is then stored in containers in the LISCO military compound. From there, arms and ammunition are loaded onto a trawler or a fishing vessel at the LISCO port terminal’’.
‘‘The trawlers sail to Benghazi, remaining most of the time inside territorial waters. Sometimes, while underway, shipments are loaded on a Misrata coast guard speedboat to continue the journey to Benghazi. Lately, many such speedboats have been intercepted by LNA airstrikes. On their way back to Misrata, the speedboats transport injured fighters’’, the report concluded.