Gaddafi troops advance

2011-03-12 09:39

Near Ras Lanuf - Libyan fighter jets bombed anti-Faddafi forces on Friday as the European Union called on the Libyan leader to go and Barack Obama urged the world to keep up the pressure.

"Colonel Gaddafi must relinquish power immediately," said a European Union statement from Brussels at the end of an emergency summit on the crisis.

"His regime has lost all legitimacy and is no longer an interlocutor for the EU," it added.

The 27-nation bloc expressed "deep concern about attacks against civilians, including from the air".

But it also stressed the need for "a clear legal basis and support from the region", reflecting divisions over the advisability of military intervention.

The legal basis sought by EU states would be a UN Security Council resolution authorising action.

The statement also called for a urgent summit between the EU, the African Union and the Arab League to discuss the crisis. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that would take place "in the coming weeks".

The Arab League is due to meet in Cairo on Saturday. The African Union rejected military intervention in Libya, at a meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Friday.

There was no mention in the final EU statement of calls from Britain and France for a no-fly zone over Libya - let alone French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s proposal for "targeted action" against Gaddafi.

More and more isolated

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had made it clear she was "fundamentally sceptical" on the question of any military intervention.

In Washington, President Barack Obama told reporters on Friday: "Across the board, we are slowly tightening the noose on Gaddafi.

"He is more and more isolated internationally both through sanctions as well as an arms embargo," Obama said.

But he admitted he was worried about the threat Gaddafi still posed given the weapons at his disposal and reports that he had been hiring mercenaries.

"We're going to have to continue to apply pressure," Obama said, as the US Treasury Department hit another nine Kadhafi associates with sanctions, including his wife Safia Farkash and his defense minister.

The US has already frozen $32bn in Libyan assets.

Obama also announced he would appoint envoys to meet the Libyan opposition.

Also in Washington, Libya's former ambassador to the UN, Abdel Rahman Shalgam, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would meet Mahmoud Jibril, the Libyan opposition National Council's foreign affairs chief, in Paris on Monday.

In Libya itself however, Gaddafi's fighter jets bombed rebel forces, as his forces tried to press the iniative won in recent victories.

Rebels said fighting had flared again in the key eastern oil hub and frontline town of Ras Lanuf, after most of them were driven out in a fierce battle on Thursday after holding it for a week.

In the midst of a heavy-weapons duel, a warplane dropped bombs on a rebel checkpoint 10km east of the town and on a nearby oil refinery, but no casualties were reported.

An AFP reporter saw flames and a massive plume of thick black smoke rising from the refinery, the second facility to be hit in the week's fighting.

A second strike hit rebel positions about 15km east of town.

Pro-Kadhafi state television reported: "The population of Ras Lanuf is overjoyed after the town was purged of armed gangs backed by Al-Qaeda."

There was no reliable casualty figure from Friday's fighting, but an AFP reporter saw at least five bodies, while doctors said 10 people were killed on Thursday.

Earlier, rebels fired a salvo of at least 12 Katyushas from a rocket launcher mounted on the back of a truck, and what rebels said were loyalist army shells and Grad rockets were heard exploding further west.

Volunteer medics in Libya called for international help.

A few kilometres east of Ras Lanuf, Doctor Awad el-Ghweiry feared his makeshift clinic would not be able to cope.

"Where are all the international organisations?" he demanded, as he and his colleagues treated three rebels and three loyalists.

In the western city of Zawhiya, Gaddafi's troops fired into the air to celebrate the capture of the rebel stronghold, which put up a fierce two-week resistance.

UN mission to visit

And the country's oil chief Shukri Ghanem told AFP that operations had resumed after a three-day suspension at a key refinery in Zawiyah which supplies the capital and western Libya.

But in eastern, rebel-held Benghazi, up to 10 000 people poured onto the streets on Friday in a carnival-like atmosphere, calling for Gaddafi to go and praying for victory.

Libya has suspended diplomatic relations with France, Gaddafi's deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaaim said on Friday, after Paris recognised the Libyan rebels' self-proclaimed national council a day earlier.

A UN mission would visit Libya on Saturday to evaluate its humanitarian needs, Kaaim told reporters in Tripoli.

In New York UN chief Ban Ki-moon said his envoy, former Jordanian foreign minister Abdul Ilah Khatib, would raise international concerns about Gaddafi's deadly crackdown on protests "in no uncertain terms".

Read more on:    un  |  muammar gaddafi  |  ban ki-moon  |  libya  |  libya protests  |  north africa  |  uprisings

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


3 sports games you have to watch this weekend

Whether it’s date night or a braai with buddies, plan around these three exciting sporting games!

How to maintain your mo, bro
Hottie of the day: Colette
Pro-skater Tony Hawk rides a hoverboard!
10 ways to drive her wild!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a strong desire to be unique, self sufficient, right and in control today. Your mind is fast today and you may have more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.