Gaddafi's dream in ruins

2011-10-13 12:59
Sirte – Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown Sirte, the city he once dreamed would be the capital of the United States of Africa, lay in ruins on Thursday, blitzed and largely overrun by the fighters the Libyan dictator called "dogs".

Burnt-out hulks of cars lined the streets where every building bore the rocket and bullet marks of the month-long siege National Transitional Council forces waged against pro-Gaddafi diehards before fighting their way in block by block.

NTC fighter Lutfy Al-Amin, from the city of Misrata, said he had visited Sirte many times before but barely recognised the once-wealthy city now.

"Everything is destroyed," he said on Wednesday as he and his comrades fought one of the last pockets of Gaddafi supporters still holding out in the city that before the siege was home to around 100 000 people.

"But it was their mistake. If they'd surrendered we wouldn't have done this," said the 37-year-old postal worker.

Al-Amin's own city was devastated by a months-long siege by Gaddafi forces after the uprising against the now fugitive strongman began in February.

But Misrata held out - despite the deaths of around 1 400 of its people - and its battle-hardened fighters later helped take the capital Tripoli before they headed to Sirte to continue their war there.

On Thursday they and fighters from the eastern city of Benghazi - where the uprising kicked off on February 17 - were streaming through most of Sirte firing their guns in the air in celebration.

Confiscated vehicles


They rode the city's streets in their black-painted pick-up trucks with machine-guns or anti-aircraft guns mounted on the back, fiercely proud of the victory that had left dozens of their companions dead and hundreds wounded.

Some green flags of the Gaddafi regime still flutter on rooftops but they were quickly being replaced with the red, black and green banners of the revolution.

Fighters moved from house to house, hunting for weapons or suspected Gaddafi fighters and sometimes making off with bags full of looted possessions and leaving trashed homes in their wake.

Some Sirte residents had remained throughout the siege. The new regime fighters suspected many of the men folk of being Gaddafi fighters and hauled them off to prison.

A procession of confiscated vehicles were driven or towed out of the town that Gaddafi transformed into a showcase of his self-proclaimed revolution.

After he seized power in 1969, he turned a sleepy Mediterranean seaside village into a small city with a massive programme of public work.

It was in Sirte that Gaddafi held a meeting of African leaders that established the African Union, which the dictator followed up with a proposal to create a United States of Africa with his hometown as the capital.

Ouagadougou conference centre

The centrepiece of Gaddafi’s grandiose project in Sirte was the Ouagadougou conference centre, a giant marble-lined hall where he hosted summits of foreign heads of state.

The centre was the target of heavy shelling by NTC fighters who later moved in and spread throughout the sprawling complex, tearing down portraits of the fugitive Gaddafi and the green flags of his fallen 42-year regime.

The centre's huge windows were all blasted and its metal roof had caved in under the artillery barrage.

The devastation was general across Sirte, from Gaddafi’s palatial compound - battered by Nato bombs - in the southwest to the four-lane beachfront highway, strewn with debris and lined with apartment buildings with gaping holes from artillery fire.

"We didn't do this for revenge. We just wanted to stop them and be free," said postal worker Al-Amin.

Read more on:    ntc  |  nato  |  muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa  |  uprisings  |  libya protests
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
21 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
5 crucial questions to ask before you take that job 2014-10-30 08:00

You choose your employer just as much as they choose you. Here are 5 of the most important things you should find out about a company before you sign up.

/News
 

LOL! Best outdoor girl fails

It’s not only guys who have FAIL moments! Here are some of the funniest outdoor fails where girls are the victims!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

90-year-old's incredible travels
10 facts about swimming you didn't know
Halloween night run
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

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!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

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

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. 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!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be some tension that is caused through social conflicts -- personal interests versus obligations. You may feel an...read more

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

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.