News / Africa

Clashes Reported in Several Libyan Cities

Libyan rebel fighters load a truck with ammunition on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, Libya, Saturday, April 16, 2011.
Libyan rebel fighters load a truck with ammunition on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, Libya, Saturday, April 16, 2011.

Fighting is being reported in at least three Libyan cities Saturday, including the besieged port of Misrata, where living conditions continue to deteriorate. Human rights groups are also accusing Gadhafi loyalists of using cluster bombs in the city.

Desperate residents of the besieged rebel-held city of Misrata express their grief and anguish as the battle for the city continues unabated. Witnesses report shelling and rocket attacks by pro-Gadhafi forces around Misrata port where hundreds of civilians have been hunkering down.

Al Jazeera TV showed images of buildings around the port ablaze, with fire coming out their windows, after an intense rocket barrage. Witnesses say large portions of the city have been abandoned due to the intense shelling and hundreds of families are living in cramped conditions, without running water and electricity.

The group, Human Rights Watch,  is also accusing pro-Gadhafi forces of using dangerous cluster bombs, banned by most countries, in Misrata. Human Rights Watch spokesperson Emma Daley says an observer from the group witnessed Gadhafi forces using what she thinks were cluster bombs.

"We actually witnessed what we believe were three cluster munitions strikes a couple of nights ago over a populated neighborhood of Misrata. And, we interviewed a couple of witnesses who believe that they saw cluster munition attacks on earlier occasions. And finally, our researchers in Misrata found physical evidence. They found sub-munitions from cluster munitions that they were able to identify as a Spanish weapon manufactured in 2007," he said.

Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim, however, denies that Gadhafi forces are using cluster bombs, insisting that it would be foolish to do so, since the evidence would be obvious. "We challenge them to prove this. To use these bombs, you know, the evidence will remain for days and weeks and we know the international community is coming en masse [to] our country soon. So, we can't do this. We can't do anything that would incriminate us, even if we were criminals," he said.

Ashraf Mohammed, an Egyptian man who worked in Misrata and was recently evacuated by sea to the rebel-held city of Benghazi, describes conditions in the city before he left. He said that more than 80 missiles fell on Misrata port, in the 24 hours before he was evacuated from the city. He notes that even more shells fell on the rest of the city, and three Egyptian workers were killed in the attacks.

Mohamed Abu Tunyan, a worker from Bangladesh, explains that the shelling and the lack of food and water made living conditions dire for himself and hundreds of other Bangladeshis. He said he and about 1,500 other Bangladeshi workers were hiding in the Masna steel factory in Misrata for about 15 days. He complains that the shelling on the port area, along with the lack of food and water made living conditions extremely difficult.

Heavy fighting was also reported Saturday around the eastern city of Ajdabiya. Rebel forces have reportedly taken some new ground from Gadhafi loyalists on the road to the oil port of Brega. The fighting comes amid a recent flurry of diplomatic activity, and conferences in Berlin, Cairo, and Doha, Qatar.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs