Ahmad Bani, a commander of the revolutionaries, spoke today in Benghazi in a live press conference about the advance on Brega, the possibility of a political solution and the outlook for the near future. The following is a short summary of the press conference, with great thanks to ChangeInLibya.
Ahmad Bani said that the freedom fighters and the National Libyan Army have so far managed to successfully remove more than 400 mines from the Brega area.
Most of the freedom fighters were positioned at 60km point, the Brega industrial area, and are following a strict plan. They intend to move further west towards the town but they must be careful.
Bani stated that the goal was not to liberate Brega, but to push further west and liberate all cities under Gaddafi control.
He also expressed his thanks to the free nations of the world for their help, referring to the news that NATO promised more jets and resources for the Libya mission.
Regarding the talks of a political solution, Bani said that Gaddafi completely destroyed any chance of this happening. He also asked who they are to speak to if Gaddafi is not a leader, as the regime has consistently claimed Gaddafi has no official position and cannot step down. He said a political solution is out of the question unless these issues can be solved.
He added that the freedom fighters are too honourable and respectable to negotiate with an illegitimate man and said he trusts them to follow the NTC’s leadership.
There have been questions regarding the upcoming month of Ramadan and how the conflict will progress. Many western nations have expressed their hope for a political solution by then. Ahmad Bani today said that Ramadan will not stop them from fighting Gaddafi’s illegitimate army and that in fact it gives them the courage and drive to end this conflict.
Back on the topic of Brega, Bani said that they have enough equipment and fighters to counter the Gaddafi forces there. They have old very old tanks and equipment that they’ve managed to salvage from previous clashes and storage facilities, including ancient T-55’s.
He added that they have intercepted enemy communications and from them they have gathered that the troops are scared, distraught and disorganized and said that there will be news of Brega’s liberation when the time is right.
Ahman Bani stressed that they refused any foreign forces on the ground and that Gaddafi should be captured by Libyans. He reiterated that the UN resolution prevents the use of troops on the ground and that they do not want for this to turn into someone else’s sad memory. “We do not want people from other countries losing their children in Libya. This is a Libyan affair”.
He also accused several countries, without naming them, of opening their doors to Gaddafi and supplying him with mercenaries, weapons and fuel. The recent successes of the freedom fighters are due to pre-planning and coordination.
When asked regarding missiles and mining in the case of an advance on Tripoli, Bani said that these were scare tactics by Gaddafi. He said they will not give their forces the time nor the opportunity to “trick them”.
He also said that they have reports of Gaddafi forces at the front line being killed by their commanders if they retreat or move back and said that they consider any Gaddafi soldier that died trying to defect or refuse orders to kill civilians as a patriotic and honourable person.