News / Middle East

Libyan Opposition Fights Pro-Gadhafi Forces in Zawiya

An armed man stands on top of a captured tank in Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli, in Libya Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.
An armed man stands on top of a captured tank in Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli, in Libya Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.

Multimedia

International pressure is mounting on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to leave Libya, but he told an American television network that Libyans love him and he has no plans to step down.  Meantime, U.S. officials have come out with their strongest statement yet that Mr. Gadhafi must go, and anti-Gadhafi forces in Zawiya say they are repelling troops loyal to the Libyan leader.

Zawiya is 50 kilometers west of Tripoli.  Witnesses tell VOA that troops and tanks loyal to Moammar Gadhafi are lined up along the coastline, blocking the city's access to the sea.  

One man who says he is a protest leader  told VOA what happened Monday evening as pro-Gadhafi forces tried to enter the town. "Security militia that protects Gadhafi launched an attack from the west side of Zawiya.  What happened then, we managed to kill three armed militiamen and destroy their car.  The rest of them fled," he said.

Another  man said protesters in Zawiya have few weapons and he does not think Libyans alone can topple Mr. Gadhafi. "I think there has to be outside intervention.  Forces should close on him, arrest him and rid the Libyans from him.  Because as the situation goes on, we will witness daily massacres.," he said.

The Obama adminstration on Monday increased its condemnation of Mr. Gadhafi.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "Gadhafi has lost the legitimacy to govern and it is time for him to go without futher violence or delay."

But Moammar Gadhafi told ABC News he plans to stay in Libya because his people love him. "They love me, all my people with me. They love me, all. They will die to protect me, my people. No, no," he said.

This is what Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, has to say about that. "It sounds just frankly delusional. When he can laugh and talk to American and international journalists while he is slaughtering his people, it only underscores how unfit he is to lead, and how disconnected he is from reality," she said.

VOA has received this video posted on YouTube.  The time frame is not known, but it appears to show Mr. Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, promisings weapons to supporters.

"They are saying that the police have run away.  But today, we will prove the opposite that police are with Libya.  Do you need weapons?  You will receive all the support, all the facilities and weapons.  Everything will be okay and you will be victorious," he said.

But Saif al-Islam Gadhafi denied to ABC News that the government has been ruthless with the Libyan people. "Show me a single attack.  Show me a single bomb.  Show me the casualties," he said.

VOA spoke to one woman in Libya via Skype. She says the proof is in the local hospitals.  "A man who was hit with an RPG [rocket propelled grenade] in his chest.  I saw pictures of a man who was hit with a 14 and a half anti-aircraft weaponry. These are weapons that are supposed to be used on aircraft, not human beings," she said.

The woman asked that we not show her face. She says everyone is tense where she lives, even though forces loyal to Mr. Gadhafi have switched sides to help residents. "They are volunteers that are setting up and the police and army have joined forces with the protesters.  The police officers are stationed throughout the city," she said.

The woman told VOA she does not know what will happen next in Libya. All she wants is to be free and for her child to be safe to play on a playground.

Mideast Unrest 2011 on Dipity.

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

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid