Libya rebel govt moving to Tripoli

2011-08-26 08:37
Tripoli - The Libyan rebels' interim government announced it is moving from the country's second city to the capital Tripoli, another step toward taking control, as heavy fighting raged around Muammar Gaddafi’s last stronghold early on Friday.

Before daybreak, rebels exchanged heavy fire with fighters loyal to Gaddafi who have holed up in residential buildings in the Tripoli neighbourhood of Abu Salim, a regime stronghold. Smoke rose from the area of Abu Salim, and heavy machine gun fire and loud booms were heard across Tripoli before dawn.

Gaddafi is still on the run, but a minister in the rebel government said his capture is not a prerequisite for setting up a new administration in the capital.

"We can start rebuilding our country," Finance Minister Ali Tarhouni of the National Transitional Council told a news conference late on Thursday. "He [Gaddafi] is the one who is basically in the sewer, moving from one sewer to another."

Even with his regime in tatters, Gaddafi has tried to rally his followers to kill the rebels who waged war for six months to bring down Libya's ruler of 42 years.

"Don't leave Tripoli for the rats. Fight them, and kill them," Gaddafi said in a new audio message broadcast on Al-Ouroba TV, a Syria-based satellite station.

Since sweeping into Tripoli on Sunday, the rebels have been struggling to take complete control. On Tuesday, they took Gaddafi’s sprawling government compound, Bab al-Aziziya, and have also been battling for control of the nearby neighbourhood of Abu Salim.

The fight for Abu Salim has been particularly bloody. Bullet-riddled corpses from both sides sprawled on the ground.

Final message

Outside Bab al-Aziziya, there was another grim scene, one that suggested execution-style killings of civilians.

About two dozen bodies - some with their hands bound by plastic ties and with bullet wounds to the head - lay scattered on grassy lots in an area where Gaddafi sympathisers had camped out for months.

The identities of the dead were unclear, but they were in all likelihood activists who had set up an impromptu tent city in solidarity with Gaddafi in defiance of the Nato bombing campaign.

Five or six bodies were in a tent erected on a roundabout. One of the dead still had an IV in his arm, and another body was completely charred, its legs missing. The body of a doctor, in his green hospital gown, was found dumped in the canal.

It was unclear who was responsible for the killings.

Despite the chaos, members of the National Transitional Council announced they are moving the rebels' interim government from the eastern city of Benghazi, which fell to rebel forces early in the conflict, to Tripoli.

"In the name of the martyrs ... I proclaim the beginning ... of the work of the executive office in a free Tripoli as of this moment," Tarhouni told reporters.

"I have a final message for everyone who is still carrying arms against the revolution," he said, "to let go of their arms and go back to their homes, and we promise not to take revenge against them".

Read more on:    ntc  |  nato  |  muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa  |  uprisings  |  libya protests

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. 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
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Meet instagram star, Pumpkin the racoon

With 300 000 followers and growing Pumpkin is winning over the internet!



The cats that cost R35 000
Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy
13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Plant some seeds. Your innovative mind is on fire and your ingenious ideas may just be the seeds for future projects. You may 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.