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.

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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid