New fighting may erupt in Libya

2011-08-31 10:13

Tripoli/Benghazi - Loyal followers of Muammar Gaddafi are refusing to surrender to those who have forced him into hiding, raising the prospect of new fighting in Libya when an ultimatum expires after this week's Eid holiday.

The new ruling council, keen to consolidate its grip and relieve hardship after six months of war, won a $1.55bn cash injection when the UN Sanctions Committee released banknotes in Britain in frozen accounts once controlled by Gaddafi. The new leaders said Libya may start pumping oil again in days.

In the capital's newly renamed Martyrs' Square, hundreds of people gathered for morning prayers to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, delighted at Gaddafi's downfall.

"It is the most beautiful prayers. We are filled with joy, Gaddafi made us hate our lives ... We come here to express our joy at the end of 42 years of repression and deprivation," said Hatem Gureish, 31, a merchant from Tripoli.

"This is the most beautiful Eid and most beautiful day in 42 years," he said.

Security was tight at the square where Gaddafi had been due to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the coup that brought him to power on September 01. Sniffer dogs checked worshippers and armed men stood on rooftops to guard against an attack by Gaddafi loyalists.

"There may be some pockets of Gaddafi forces but generally the capital is secure," interim interior minister Ahmad Darat told Reuters. "We have created a security team to manage the crisis and preserve security in the capital."

A day of freedom

"This is a day of freedom, a day I cannot describe to you. It is as if I own the world," said Fatima Mustafa, 28, a pregnant woman wearing a black chador. "I'm glad I haven't given birth yet so my daughter can be born into a free Libya."

On the front lines of a pincer thrust toward Gaddafi's coastal bastion of Sirte - one of several places, including Tripoli, where his enemies think he may have taken refuge - fighters for the interim ruling council paused, observing an effective ceasefire announced by their leaders until Saturday.

Nato warplanes have been bombing Gaddafi forces near Sirte, and the alliance has assured its Libyan allies that it will keep up its military drive from the air for an end to the conflict - something the council leadership says will only be secured once Gaddafi is found, "dead or alive".

Council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who as Gaddafi's justice minister until turning against him this year has had ample opportunity to observe the survival instincts of one of the world's longest ruling autocrats, warned again on Tuesday:

"Muammar Gaddafi is not finished yet."

"He still poses a threat to Libyans and the revolution. He still has pockets of support in Libya and supporters outside Libya, both individuals and countries," Abdel Jalil said in the council's eastern stronghold of Benghazi.

In the Sahara far south of Sirte, the town of Sabha is among those where the writ of the ruling council does not run.

It was across the desert that Gaddafi's wife and three of his children fled into Algeria. They arrived just in time for his daughter Aisha to give birth at the oasis of Djanet on Tuesday, according to Algerian officials who tried to soothe Libyan anger by insisting they granted refuge to the Gaddafis out of concern for the expectant mother and in the traditions of hospitality entrenched in local nomadic culture.

  • marco - 2011-08-31 10:53

    Let's see what the NTC does in Sirte where the city had been given 4 days by the Rebels to surrender or face the consequences.If the Gaddafi loyalist in Sirte don't surrender then they ****ed big-time says the Rebels.Trouble is what will NATO do once the NTC Rebels shoot into the Libyan civilians of Sirte?UN Resolution 1973 said in March 2011 that NATO's intervention in Libya was to the protect the civilian population,however will that Resolution 1973 still say the same thing come Saturday once the 4 day deadline is up?What will NATO do when the Rebels attacks on Saturday and civilians are caught in the middle of it as Gaddafi Forces are using them as human shields?Will NATO have the brass balls and attack the Rebels aswell like they did with GADDAFI, since the resolution stipulates protection of civilians.If NATO allows the Rebels to fire into Sirte and then killing civilians then this whole Libyan thing was or has been about Gaddafi's Regime change and nothing more. The other thing is,these NTC are not what some in the Media and on this forum make them out to be.Why do I say that?You see the NTC appointed Albarrani Shkalil as Head of Security in Tripoli.Who is he and why did that appointment of his cause so much protest against the NTC's way of doing things in Libya? It's simple.This guy helped Gaddafi control Libya for years,and this spring he helped Gaddafi's 32nd Brigade launch it's assault on Misrata.In this assault,Shkalil,was operations officer for Khamis Gaddafi

  • marco - 2011-08-31 10:54

    until he defected following the failed operation to crush Misrata.That was seen as an insult to those who died defending the city and 500 Libyans protested against their NTC.The NTC argued that they needed experienced people in position of authority if they are to make a success of this experiment in democracy. Already Rebels in Misrata said they don't recognize Shkalil or any orders from him. Not so rosy afterall. In Benghazi the s**t get's worse and very interesting indeed. Last month the rebel commander Abdel Fattah Younis was murdered in Benghazi. Rumour has it that it was a faction within the NTC coalition,the Islamist militia,that carried out the killing. The NTC did investigate the incident and said it knows the identity of the killers,but that they won't release the information in the "higher interests" of the reveluotion.Cracks in the NTC facade are beginning to show,it don't mean a civil war is looming,but they are strong warnings that if the NTC doesn't manage the division of power in the new Libya with great skill like Gaddafi did when ran the show,then all hell will break loose.NATO was so eager to get Gaddafi out of the way let's see how they and the UN respond to the K@K the NTC is about to cough up

      willieman - 2011-08-31 11:23

      Hi Marco,thats really a gloomy picture that you drawing.I thought Au will hijack NTC and dictate the way forward,but now what's happening is the western and europeans have stepped in so quickly..Au is still debate the morality of the whole thing ,lets face it who doesn't need oil,whether by hook or crook that's the way the world operates.Au is divided on the whole issue some recognised NTC some expel ambassadors so on and so forth.for me AU is toothless in many ways

  • Martin du Plessis - 2011-08-31 10:57

    Try copy/pasting all that again in a few more articles, marco, i don't think we ignored the BS enough for now.

  • Fakmore - 2011-08-31 11:02

    Fighting after liberation

  • roboman1 - 2011-08-31 11:12

    The more Africa can rid itself of dictators the better, can Bob Mugabe please be the next to go. This week would be good alreadt

  • Brian - 2011-08-31 11:31

    Just gotta love this heading - New fighting may erupt in Libya - but then again it may not..........

  • Tshiamo - 2011-08-31 11:52

    God (Allah) must be laughing at the shortsightedness of human nature. After a common enemy goes: they will turn to each other that's a human trait! But do they have the power to manage the change they wanted?

  • Mr Nonsense - 2011-08-31 14:23

    This is not NTC it is the west hiding behind ntc.

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