News24

Gaddafi diehards seize former regime base

2012-01-23 21:41

Bani Walid - Diehard supporters of slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi seized control on Monday of Bani Walid in a brazen attack on his one-time bastion that killed five people, officials told AFP.

The assault on a base of former rebels who helped oust Gaddafi was the first major offensive launched by his loyalists since the "liberation" of Libya on October 23, shortly after the fall of Bani Walid.

"The loyalists of Gaddafi took control of the entire city of Bani Walid," said M'barek al-Fotmani, a former member of the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) in the desert oasis, 170km south of Tripoli.

Fotmani said the daylight attack on the base of former rebels killed "five thuwar (anti-Gaddafi revolutionaries) including a commander." Around 30 former rebels were also injured, he said from inside the base.

Monday's attack follows an outburst of opposition to the NTC in the eastern city of Benghazi last week that prompted its chair, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, to warn of possible "civil war" in post-conflict Libya.

Mahmud Warfelli, spokesperson of Bani Walid local council, said the attack was launched by "a group of remnants of the old regime," and called for outside help against a feared "massacre".

"There are around 100 and 150 men armed with heavy weapons who are attacking. We have asked for the army to intervene, but the defence ministry and NTC have let us down," he said.

"[The gunmen] took control and hoisted the green flag on some districts, some important districts in the centre of the city," Warfelli added.

"We're out of the frying pan into the fire. We've been warning about this for the past two months."

Army on the way

A senior NTC member, Fathi Baja, said reinforcements had been sent to protect the town.

"Two hours ago orders were given for the army to go and they are on the way. The fighting is between some Gaddafi supporters and thuwar," he told AFP.

Fotmani said the assailants had surrounded the base.

"The compound of [the] thuwar is surrounded on all sides by loyalists of Gaddafi who are attacking it with all kinds of weapons," he said.

"The attackers are carrying green flags," symbol of the Gaddafi regime, he added.

Fotmani said the base belonged to the May 28 Brigade, a unit attached to the defence ministry.

"The attackers shouted 'Allah, Muammar, Libya and that's it!" he said, referring to a slogan popularised by Gaddafi loyalists during his rule.

"Yesterday they had distributed leaflets saying "We will be back soon. We will take the rats out,'" Fotmani added.

Snipers

"I call upon Libya to save Bani Walid thuwar urgently. Their ammunition is almost over."

He also said ambulances were unable to evacuate those wounded because there were "snipers positioned on a school and a mosque in the vicinity" of the attack.

Fotmani said later he had "fled the base and Gaddafi fighters are now occupying it and have taken control of all heavy weapons that were inside," adding the assailants set alight the local council's main building.

Bani Walid was one of the last pro-Gaddafi bastions to fall in the bloody uprising against the former dictator's rule.

Comments
  • xozamandi - 2012-01-23 22:30

    the man might be dead but his spirit will be still fighting, and the worst is yet to come..

      Mthuthuzeli - 2012-01-24 14:08

      A noble human life does not end on earth with death. It continues in the minds and the deeds of friends, as well as in the thoughts and the activity of the nation.

  • Mashudu - 2012-01-24 09:10

    It is not Yet Over!

  • Anthony - 2012-01-24 20:41

    Reading these comments; No wonder, the Libyans don't give a sh.t about Africa!!!!!!!!!

  • Mthuthuzeli - 2012-01-24 21:13

    Has Africa lost Libya?? No! Has the NTC lost the respect of Africans. Very likely as most Africans will not respect any government that calls European criminals from NATO to bomb their country to change their government. Africa's unique history of being raped by Europe ad infinitum(which continues today) make it impossible for a majority of knowledgable Africans to cheer for this revolution. Most can't!!!

      Anthony - 2012-01-24 21:47

      @Mthuthuzeli, This all sounds very nice what you say, but there is just a tiny problem; If you have been living under tyranny for many years, lke the Tunesians, the Egyptians, the Libyans, the Siryans,and closer to home, the Zimbabeans, these people will just NOT agree with you. The problem with many, who are anti Western, is that they have lost touch with the population of their own continent. They often want to make out as if they talk on behalf of the masses, the majority of Africans. But they don't!!!!!! They talk for a very small minority, that in fact is getting smaller and smaller. Unfortunately, for radicals, is that Africans are not extreme at all. Ironically, if you want to have a radial audience, you will have to go to..................the USA !!!!!

      Ramo - 2012-01-26 14:28

      The fact of the matter everybody has choice we need to respect other's choice if you create your own reality and you popularize your own reality, don't force anyone to believe it... We all know what is happening in China,America, England and Arabic regions.. all I can say some countries lack respect because of capitalism and Power they are feared not respected..

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