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

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim 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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid