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Libya Opposition: Rebels Still Control Brega

  • James Butty

Libya Opposition: Rebels Still Control Brega

Libya Opposition: Rebels Still Control Brega

Hadi Shalluf, president of Justice and Democracy Party of Libya says rebels also captured dozens of pro-Gadhafi soldiers

A Libyan opposition leader says anti-government forces have beaten back pro-Gadhafi forces from the oil town of Brega.

Earlier reports indicated the rebels had fled the oil port as the result of heavy shelling.

Hadi Shalluf, president of the Justice and Democracy Party of Libya, also says the rebels captured dozens of pro-Gadhafi soldiers.

“The exact information that we have today, one hour ago, is that the revolutionaries have taken back Brega and then they captured more than 70 soldiers belonging to Gadhafi troops,” he said.

Witnesses said Sunday the rebels were seen leaving Brega heading northeast toward the opposition-controlled town of Ajdabiya.

Libyan state television declared that Brega had been cleansed of what it called “armed gangs.”

Shalluf says anti-Gadhafi forces rebounded and made significant gains in Brega.

“This afternoon and morning, they (rebels) were fleeing Brega but, two hours ago, they went back to Brega and then they win the war against Gadhafi troops and then they captured 71 persons,” Shalluf said.

He rejects reports that pro-Gadhafi forces might be preparing to advance on the key rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Shalluf says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who left Washington Sunday for Europe, will meet in Paris Monday with Mahmoud Jibril of the opposition National Council.

He says the opposition will ask Clinton for a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing U.N. forces in Libya.

“We will be asking her to ask the Security Council for a meeting and then take a decision or resolution to send military forces to Libya to fight Gadhafi, to capture Gadhafi and then to bring him to justice,” Shalluf said.

Like most in the Libyan opposition, Shalluf also welcomes Saturday's vote by the Arab League supporting a no-fly zone over Libya.

But, he says a no-fly-zone by itself would not be enough.

“We need ground military. We need the United Nations forces to help Libyans for peace, but also we need United Nations help,” he said.

He criticized the African Union (AU) for not take a strong stance against Gadhafi, saying a free Libya, through a referendum by the people, would not want to be a member of the continental body.

“We don’t believe in this organization because this organization is against human rights; this organization is helping the dictators in Africa. Libya, in the future, we will be not a member of African Union, but this will need a referendum from the Libyan people in the future. But now, we don’t believe in the African Union and, then, we are not accepting any action from the African Union because Gadhafi is supporting all of the heads of state from Africa,” Shalluf said.

Analysts say Gadhafi has used his country's vast oil wealth to become one of the African Union’s most influential figures.

Libya, along with Egypt and Algeria, are said to be among five AU nations that contribute nearly two-thirds of the membership dues in the 53-member African Union.

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