Libya forces regroup after Sirte setback

2011-10-14 11:05
Sirte - New regime forces regrouped on Friday for a new push to capture fugitive strongman Moamer Kadhafi's hometown of Sirte after being forced to retreat by pockets of loyalists putting up a dogged resistance.

National Transitional Council (NTC) troops remained in the central police headquarters to which they retreated 2km on Thursday under heavy fire, an AFP correspondent reported.

The defiant Gaddafi diehards in the Dollar and Number Two residential neighbourhoods in northwest Sirte have been staging a fierce last stand that has put paid to NTC hopes of a swift mopping-up operation.

"Yesterday evening, we used artillery cannon to shell the neighbourhoods," Nasser Moghassabi, a frontline field commander with the Martyrs of Free Libya Brigade told AFP.

"The situation today remains the same. We are still surrounding the two neighbourhoods."

He said scouts had been sent in, "and very soon we will decide on the next plan of action."

NTC commanders said on Thursday the Gaddafi loyalists were cornered within about two square kilometres of the city.

Four pro-NTC fighters were killed on Thursday, including two by friendly fire, and another 40 were wounded, mostly by snipers, said Rawad Friwan, a surgeon at a field hospital on Sirte's western outskirts.

Key goal


"There are still 500 pro-Gaddafi fighters in Sirte and our forces today arrested 15" of them, said Fayisal Ahmed Bringo, a new regime fighter.

NTC field commander Beloun al-Shaari of the Martyrs of the Mountains Brigade told AFP the strategy was "to close in inch by inch".

"Around 800 to 1 000 people are still in the area. Many of them are civilians which is making it a bit difficult for us to launch a big attack, but God willing, by tomorrow [Friday] we should be in control of that area," he said.

Sirte is a key goal for Libya's new leaders who have said they will not proclaim the country's liberation and begin preparing for the transition to an elected government until the city has fallen.

The new regime began its siege of Sirte on September 15 before launching what it termed a "final assault" on Friday of last week that has seen at least 95 of its fighters killed and hundreds wounded, according to medics.

NTC forces have encircled Gaddafi loyalists after seizing Sirte's waterfront, its showpiece conference centre, university, hospital and main square.

A top adviser of NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil, meanwhile, backtracked on his announcement that they had captured Gaddafi’s feared son and national security chief Mutassim in Sirte, after it was denied by military commanders.

"There was some confusion about the reports of Mutassim's capture," Abdelkarim Bizama said. "As soon as we have confirmation, there will be an official announcement of his arrest."

Unbelievable corruption

However, new regime fighters said they did capture the Gaddafi regime's top cleric as he tried to flee Sirte on Wednesday with his beard shaved off.

Khaled Tantoosh, Libya's mufti under Gaddafi, made broadcasts in his support through the long uprising that ended the despot's 42-year rule.

Meanwhile, NTC oil minister Ali Tarhuni vowed Libya would investigate "every penny" of suspect oil contracts signed under Gaddafi’s regime, which was responsible for what he called "unbelievable" corruption.

"There will be specialised committees that will look into all these contracts and agreements, starting with the oil sector," Tarhuni said, without giving details on contracts or companies.

Libya's oil production, which collapsed after the uprising in February, is expected to rise to nearly one million barrels per day by April from the current 400 000, said Nuri Berruien, head of the state-run National Oil Company.

Read more on:    ntc  |  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
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

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

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid 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

You are in a curious mood and you want to be the first to know what is happening. You may find yourself drawn into cyber chatting...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.