News24

Gaddafi loyalists thirst for revenge

2011-11-01 11:39

Bani Walid - Members of Libya's powerful Warfalla tribe say they are thirsting for revenge after their bastion Bani Walid was looted and pillaged by anti-Gaddafi fighters.

"Tomorrow is another day. We will get our revenge sooner or later," said a Warfalla tribesman, pointing to shelled and burnt-out buildings in the oasis town, southeast of Tripoli.

Refusing to be filmed, and giving his name only as Suleiman, he said he fears the new regime's fighters, who defeated Muammar Gaddafi’s beleaguered loyalists in Bani Walid two weeks ago after more than a month of fierce fighting.

"We stopped fighting when we ran out of ammunition. Then we secured a safe passage for the volunteers," he said, referring to loyalists who had come from other regions.

"Most of the town's residents hid their weapons and stayed in their homes; others joined the rebels," he added.

Lingering tensions between supporters of the National Transitional Council and former Gaddafi strongholds are potentially one of the biggest problems facing Libya's interim government.

The point was highlighted in a Human Rights Watch report released on Sunday that accused NTC militia of revenge attacks on the displaced residents of Tawargha because of their alleged participation in atrocities committed by Gaddafi’s forces in the nearby town of Misrata.

Jubilant NTC fighters entered Bani Walid on October 17, after weeks of fierce resistance, astonished by the sudden capitulation and disappearance of the pro-Gaddafi fighters. The town was virtually empty.

Hatred and sadness

"When the thwar [revolutionary fighters] failed to find the Gaddafi brigades they had been expecting, they were furious. They shot at dogs, at houses, they looted and burned apartments and public buildings," said Suleiman.

"Now the whole town is angry. The thwar punished everyone, by destroying their homes, stealing their cars and killing their relatives," he added, in a voice full of hatred and sadness.

"Bani Walid is a tribal society. We don't have foreigners here. There is only the Warfalla tribe and no one can govern us... We will act sooner or later, here and even in Tripoli," he warned.

The Warfalla, Libya's largest tribe with one million members, in a country of six to seven million, are divided into dozens of clans spread across the nation, with other strongholds in the eastern Cyrenaica region.

Warfalla opposition towards the ousted despot, mainly in Cyrenaica, dates back to the 1990s, when dozens of army officers were rounded up, charged with conspiracy, and some executed.

But Bani Walid's inhabitants were staunch supporters of the Gaddafi regime.

Now the town, just 170km from the capital, epitomises the problems the NTC must resolve, especially the reconciliation process it must undertake if it is to bring cohesion to the liberated but fragile nation.

Despite an air of desolation hanging over Bani Walid, efforts are underway to repair and rebuild.

Gunbattles still common

"But it is very difficult," said Mohammed Ahmed, his hands covered in paint as he attempts to make his apartment inhabitable once again.

He says gunbattles are still common between the residents and NTC fighters.

Unlike in other Libyan cities, the red, black and green flag of "Free Libya" is barely visible, while there are signs of normal life resuming, but only very slowly.

In the town centre, where volunteers sweep away the bullet cases and rubble, one young man, Al-Sahbi al-Warfalli, sells vegetables from an improvised stall.

Speaking under his breath, he admits to fighting alongside the Gaddafi loyalists.

"Yes, I fought against those thieves. It is a revolution of thieves. They destroyed everything, they stole everything," he said.

"Bani Walid paid the price for supporting Gaddafi. But we love him, and we are waiting for the sign to take up arms again," he added.

His cousin agrees.

"We have defended our houses and our honour. We will avenge every person killed and every house raided," he said.

Comments
  • Houtskool - 2011-11-01 11:56

    Well, the witch hunting will start soon enough. People will be executed and collaborators will be sold for a quick buck or to settle a score.

      Sganja - 2011-11-01 12:09

      And you must blame your masters (Western countries) for internal interference.Now we gonna see a war.

      Dirk - 2011-11-01 14:31

      The same in SA is unavoidable

      Barry - 2011-11-01 18:21

      Gustav is right "the western countries are your masters too" THAT HAS TO CHANGE !

  • Tim - 2011-11-01 12:20

    Just a never ending cycle of oppression and rise and fall of dictators. Such is the mentality of people in that region. They started their freedom off the wrong way...by killing Gadhaffi.

  • josephringisaim - 2011-11-01 13:09

    There are but two kinds of wisdom in this world.Whereas wisdom that comes from Heaven first of all is pure,it is peace loving,gentle,considerate,submissive,full of mercy,good fruit,impartial and sincere.And therefore those who are PEACE MAKERS sow seed of PEACE and reap a harvest of righteousness. But if your harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart,you manifest earthly,unspiritual and demonic tendencies which breeds disorder and evil practice. Unlike NATO and the NTC in LIBYA,they employed the earthly wisdom,so full of bitter envy and selfish ambition,they sowed seed of disoder and evil practice as we are witnessing right now.Henceforth LIBYA shall know no PEACE until wisdom from above is applied.That is when those who are PEACE MAKERS(NATO)sow PEACE coming from wisdom from above to raise righteousness and sincere everlasting PEACE in LIBYA.

      Ramo - 2011-11-01 14:11

      Well Said Peace Makers don't kill They preach the Gospel of Peace by embrace unconditional love,Love without limitation, Because Guns and booms are instruments of war, War bring Hate,Death, uncurable desease permanent scars of lost once that may never healed or irazed... The world can be Paradise with stars of peace and hope Together let be Erazer Rub all that is been written in our heart Let the Dove of Peace to Fly InTo Heaven of freedom united we stand divided we fall apart.. "by Unknown"

      Fred - 2011-11-01 14:29

      Both you and Ramo do realise that this article has nothing yo do with religion and you are way off topic. No need to try and peddle religion here. Anyway, religion coupled with the word peace is an oxymoron.

  • Mohsin - 2011-11-01 13:57

    Well it's inevitable turmoil and that just means more oil for Europe and America who have already secured the oil fields.

  • Aijaman - 2011-11-01 14:05

    I once wrote for the people of South Africa informing them that those people that they see rejoicing death of Gaddafi are not majority. I once written that the majority of Libyan people never wanted this revolution. They were happy with Gaddafi...I once wrote the stats of the war..Highlighting the number of death in Bani Walid and Sirte...Nato never look after civilians they actually killed civillians..I once wrote for the people of S.A to realise that the NTC in Bani Walid and Sirte is not fighting against Gaddafi loyalist or mercenaries but fighting against community of Bani Walid and Sirte.

  • Ramo - 2011-11-01 15:51

    Jesus Christ was brutully Killed with no reason, President Nelson Mandela was in Robben Island for 27 years for no reason and He became the first African man to become President of RSA, Qaddafi was also brutally tortured and Later executed without any valid reason the last word before He died said :"What I have done to you.." then he died... Mandela and Qaddafi are true African Leaders served the intrest of the people especially ordinary African who have no voice to speak for themselves.. I personally believe the Death of General Colonel Qaddafi is not a free passage for Western imperialist to loot Libyan wealth people will not going to be quite, They will break the silent either by secrifice their life in order to be heared I believe the Admin will not going to delete my post because S/He always delete my Posts because I m threat to their lame Propaganda...

      Aijaman - 2011-11-01 16:24

      Long live Gaddafi!!The imperialist and that gangster called NTC was looking for Gaddafi but Gaddafi leaves in the hearts of the people...LONG LIVE GADDAFI

      jerryvanzyl - 2011-11-01 17:58

      agreed.

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