News / Africa

    Libyan Rebels Claim Control of Misrata Airport

    A rebel army officer teaches the use of a weapon to civilians, who have volunteered to join the rebel army, in Benghazi, May 11, 2011
    A rebel army officer teaches the use of a weapon to civilians, who have volunteered to join the rebel army, in Benghazi, May 11, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Libyan rebels in the besieged western city of Misrata say they have taken control of the municipal airport following days of heavy fighting, seizing large quantities of weapons and ammunition in a significant victory against forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi.

    VOA's Elizabeth Arrott speaks about the changing picture in Libya:

    Opposition military sources in Misrata, including the commander at the airport, said Wednesday that rebels have secured the entire facility, which had become the main base for pro-Gadhafi forces in the city.

    The rebels entered the airport after a series of coordinated NATO airstrikes on government artillery batteries and military vehicles. The New York Times  reported that by Wednesday evening, residents in the battered city, under siege for almost two months, began celebrating.

    Late Wednesday, Mr. Gadhafi made his first television appearance since a NATO airstrike on a house in the capital, Tripoli, killed one of his sons and three grandchildren on April 30.  Libyan state television filmed him at a brief meeting with tribal leaders. A projection screen behind Mr. Gadhafi showed Wednesday's date.

    Meanwhile, Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski visited the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi Wednesday to demonstrate European support for their cause and deliver medical aid. Sikorski told opposition leaders that the people of Poland and the EU "wish the Libyan nation victory in the transition to democracy."

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday urged the Libyan government stop its assault and allow humanitarian access to civilians in need. Mr. Ban made the request during a phone call to to Libya's prime minister, al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi.

    Also Wednesday, a leading U.S. senator said he is drafting legislation to authorize the transfer of Mr. Gadhafi's frozen assets to the opposition Transitional National Council.  John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, did not disclose the amount of cash, but said it would be enough to impact the crises faced by the council.

    Senator Kerry spoke after meeting in Washington with Libyan opposition leaders, including Mahmoud Jibril, head of the council's crisis committee.

    Earlier, the U.N. refugee agency called on European nations and boat captains in the Mediterranean to rescue people fleeing Libya's conflict. Agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said Tuesday that any boat leaving Libya should be considered in need of assistance.

    She urged governments and captains not to wait for distress calls but to head immediately to the vessels to see if the people on board are in need of help.

    Fleming commented after a flimsy vessel reportedly overloaded with more than 600 passengers capsized Friday shortly after leaving Libya. At least 16 bodies have been recovered.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora