News / Africa

    Libyan Opposition Gives War Lessons to Youth

    New recruits listen as a training instructor schools them in disassembling, cleaning, and use of AK47 automatic weapons, at a rebel forces training camp in Benghazi, Libya, April 5, 2011
    New recruits listen as a training instructor schools them in disassembling, cleaning, and use of AK47 automatic weapons, at a rebel forces training camp in Benghazi, Libya, April 5, 2011

    Multimedia

    Scott Bobb

    The uprising against the 41-year rule of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi began peacefully. But when government troops used force to suppress the demonstrations, they escalated into what increasingly looks like a civil war. Opposition forces, based mostly in the east, are fighting the much better-equipped and better-trained Gadhafi troops. But opposition leaders are trying to change that.

    Training

    It is midday at the artillery practice range in Jarutha, 20 kilometers outside Benghazi. Volunteers opposed to the government of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are learning to shoot anti-aircraft guns.

    The aging gun jams after a few rounds, underscoring one of the opposition's major problems, a lack of effective heavy weapons to counter Colonel Gadhafi's tanks and warplanes.

    The volunteers, dressed mostly in jeans and shirts, a few with camouflage fatigues, muster to the commands of the drill sergeant.



    Mustafa Sagisli commands this training unit. He is a computer engineer who owns a small business in Benghazi, but he closed it to join the resistance. He says the opposition's biggest challenges are a lack of organization and a lack of equipment.

    "We need to be supplied with weapons in order to confront Gadhafi's regime," said Sagisli.  "They have weapons and they have tanks. They are much better equipped than us."

    At the 7th of April Camp on the outskirts of Benghazi, volunteers come every day to train on weapons in the rebels' arsenal.

    They practice assembling and disassembling the type of guns other rebels are using at the front.

    Pursuing freedom

    Ramadan Korehol, a medical student, is eager to finish his training so he can go to the front. He says sometimes one has to fight in order to be free.

    "I am prepared to give up my life for freedom, for my country and to do away with the government of the dictator Gadhafi," said Korehol.

    Yusef Sharif was a master-sergeant in the Libyan army. Now he trains civilians who call themselves revolutionaries. He says they receive only a few weeks training, but that is enough because they are committed.

    "We don't have any problems… because all these young guys are educated and some have high academic qualifications," noted Sharif.  "They learn quickly and we try to teach them precisely how to use these small weapons."

    Back at the shooting range, the volunteers are drilling under the direction of a military officer.

    They count on their dedication to the struggle to make up for their lack of experience.

    Revolution

    Commander Sagisli says the volunteers camp here for three days to get accustomed to life in the field. He says this is not a civil war but rather a revolution.

    "I started from the first day of the revolution," explained Sagisli.  "It started as a peaceful demonstration. I started with a laptop on my shoulder. And I ended up with a gun on my shoulder."

    He says it will be the same for these young men. When Colonel Gadhafi is defeated, he says, they will go back to their studies, but for now we all must shoulder the much heavier tools of war.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora