News / Africa

Libyan Forces Pound Rebel Areas, UN Security Council Meets

On this image taken during an organized trip by the Libyan authorities for a small group of journalists, Libyan soldiers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi's forces are seen on the western entrance of the city of Ajdabiya, Libya, Wednesday, March 16, 2011.
On this image taken during an organized trip by the Libyan authorities for a small group of journalists, Libyan soldiers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi's forces are seen on the western entrance of the city of Ajdabiya, Libya, Wednesday, March 16, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi pounded rebel strongholds Wednesday, as the U.N. Security Council began discussing a resolution to set up a "no-fly" zone over the country.

Witnesses say government shelling of the opposition-controlled western city of Misrata killed at least five people. Pro-Gadhafi forces also pounded the eastern town of Ajdabiya, but rebels denied government claims that it had regained control of the town.

Ajdabiya is the last large town on the road to the opposition's eastern stronghold of Benghazi. The Libyan government urged Benghazi residents to hand over weapons and support a government advance on the city.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said the latest fighting has prompted it to withdraw its aid workers from Benghazi and relocate them to the city of Tobruk, farther to the east. The ICRC was among the only aid agencies with a presence in Benghazi. It appealed to all warring sides in Libya to "spare civilians and medical staff."

Some Western powers were pressing for quick passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution to establish a no-fly zone over Libya and authorize other steps in support of the rebels. The lightly armed and poorly organized opposition fighters have lost ground repeatedly in recent days to Mr. Gadhafi's army, with its aircraft, tanks and heavy weapons.

However, some Security Council members, including Germany and Russia, have expressed doubt over the implementation and potential effectiveness of a no-fly zone.  There have also been calls for Arab countries to participate in the implementation if one is approved.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in Cairo that Washington hopes for a vote on the Security Council resolution "no later" than Thursday. Britain, France and Lebanon introduced the document, with the support of the Arab League.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent a letter to Security Council members, urging them to come together without delay to "save the martyred people of Libya." He said the worst outcome would be to allow "the force of arms" to overrule the decisions of the Arab League and the Security Council.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate cease-fire in Libya.  A spokesperson for the U.N. chief says Mr. Ban is "gravely concerned" about the increasing military escalation by government forces, and indications of a planned assault on Benghazi.

Mr. Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, said in a television interview that whatever decision the council takes it will be too late. Seif al-Islam told EuroNews that  pro-Gadhafi forces are almost to Benghazi and that within 48 hours everything would be finished.

In another development, The New York Times  says four of its journalists have gone missing while reporting on the conflict. The newspaper says it was last in contact with the group on Tuesday. The four include Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Shadid, reporter Stephen Farrell and photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario.

New York Times  executive editor Bill Keller said the Libyan government has told the newspaper it is trying to determine the whereabouts of the journalists. He expressed gratitude for what he said is Tripoli's assurance that the four-person team will be released promptly and unharmed if captured by government forces.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid