Pro-Gaddafi forces resist rebels’ attacks

by Tina Charon

Picture : giladlotan on Flickr. Protest in London to support the Libyan revolution.
Picture : giladlotan on Flickr. Protest in London to support the Libyan revolution.



About one month after the beginning of the Libyan revolution, Gaddafi’s government is still in power.

A few cities are no longer under the control of the Libyan leader, but the state forces keep resisting and attacking the rebels. Misrata, the third city of Libya, is still controlled by the rebels, but other cities, like Ben Djaouad, have now been recovered by Gaddafi’s army. In Ben Djaouad, at least twelve people have died since the beginning of the confrontation between forces and rebels, and about fifty have been severely injured.

This morning, two air strikes targeted Ras Lanuf, an important oil port controlled by the opposition. According to Mokthar Dobrug, a rebel fighter, no one died : ” There was an aircraft; it fired two rockets. There were no eaths. ”

Other fights are being reported in Zaouia and Misrata. Neither the army nor the rebels seem set to give up fighting.

This morning, the six SAS soldiers captured by Libyan rebels near Benghazi a couple of days ago were freed. They left for Malta on Sunday night. This mission was authorised by Foreign Secretary William Hague. “The team went to Libya to initiate contacts with the opposition,” Hague says. ” They experienced difficulties, which have now been satisfactorily resolved. They have now left Libya. We continue to press for Gaddafi to step down and we will work with the international community to support the legitimate ambitions of the Libyan people.”

But Colonel Gaddafi still doesn’t want the international community to speak in this conflict. When asked this morning about France’s backing at the National Council, created by the rebels in the city of Benghazi, Gaddafi said : “It makes one laugh, this interference in internal affairs. And what if we interfered in the affairs of Corsica or Sardinia?”.

Colonel Gaddafi has also denied his army has opened fire on crowds. He maintains that the violence and attacks are orchestrated by Al Qaeda.

The UN reported that, since the revolution began, about 200,000 people have fled the violence in Libya. Nato Secretary, General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told the BBC that there were no plans to intervene for the moment, but that attacks against the civilian population may amount to a crime against humanity, forcing involvement.