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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More