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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid