News / Africa

Libyan Rebels Capture Part of Zawiya

Libyan rebels are seen in the back of a pick-up truck headed for the frontline near Zawiya in western Libya, August 13, 2011
Libyan rebels are seen in the back of a pick-up truck headed for the frontline near Zawiya in western Libya, August 13, 2011
Edward Yeranian

Libyan rebels appear to be in control of part of the strategic western coastal town of Zawiya, despite denials by the government. As fighting continued, rebels raised their flag inside the town and could be seen controlling a large chunk of it.

Libyan rebel fighters fired their rifles and automatic weapons into the air to celebrate their capture of large areas of of Zawiya, about 50 kilometers west of the capital, Tripoli.

Rebels could be seen on video raising two pre-Gadhafi-era flags over a mosque inside the city to mark their conquest. An al-Jazeera TV correspondent inside Zawiya said forces loyal to embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi control the northern half of the city and are sporadically lobbing mortar shells at rebel-held portions of the city.

A group of rebel fighters cheered their advance into Zawiya and told journalists that a recent string of victories over government forces should help propel them to the capital Tripoli in the near future.

He says "thanks to God we have now liberated Niyad in the Western (Nafousa) Mountains, as well as Sabha, and now Zawiya, and God willing tomorrow we will be in the capital, Tripoli."

Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim denied the rebels were in control of Zawiya, insisting they had mounted an uprising from within the city and government forces were in the process of defeating them.

"They were stopped easily by our armed forces," said Ibrahim. "There was a small group that resided inside Zawiya. They did not enter Zawiya. They are already inside Zawiya and they were waiting for the other group to come in to join them, but they basically took action too early, so they exposed themselves and they were dealt with and they are still being dealt with.”

The rebels are also claiming to have made advances inside the eastern oil port city of Brega, taking several neighborhoods. Arab satellite channels showed rebels controlling parts of Brega, but it could not be independently confirmed how much of the town they hold.

A rebel victory in Zawiya would represent a significant blow for the government, because Zawiya sits on the strategic coastal highway between the Tripoli and the Tunisian border.  That highway has been a major supply line for Tripoli in recent weeks, providing food and fuel for the capital.

Zawiya was one of the first towns to rebel against Colonel Gadhafi in the early weeks of the rebellion, which began in February. Gadhafi forces retook Zawiya in early March, after weeks of a bloody siege that resulted in hundreds of casualties.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid