Tribal elders from one of Muammar Gaddafi’s last remaining strongholds in Libya say they are trying to persuade government loyalists to lay down their arms.
The leaders are locked in talks with opposition representatives at a mosque around 70 kilometres away from Bani Walid.
“What is important for us is that Bani Walid is peaceful and no blood is shed. Either from your side or the revolutionaries. That is not our role. We are not fighters,” a representative from the NTC told the gathering of tribal leaders.
“The majority of people in Bani Walid want peace, but they are split into two groups that are implicated, either by blood or by money,” was the reply.
Thousands of opposition fighters have surrounded the town.
The tribal leaders have returned to Bani Walid for further discussions with the forces holed up in the town.
It has been suggested that any decision regarding an advance on the city depends on the outcome of these talks.