News / Africa

Libyan Rebels Move Closer to Sirte

A man waves a white flag from a car loaded with his family and their belongings at a rebel checkpoint 99 miles (160 kilometers) from Sirte, Libya, August 28, 2011
A man waves a white flag from a car loaded with his family and their belongings at a rebel checkpoint 99 miles (160 kilometers) from Sirte, Libya, August 28, 2011

Libyan anti-Gadhafi forces are drawing closer to Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, as they continue to search for the embattled leader after seizing control of the country's capital.

Rebel commanders in Misrata say opposition forces pushing towards Sirte from the west have moved within 30 kilometers of the coastal city, which is located 450 kilometers east of Tripoli.  An opposition spokesman said Sunday that anti-government forces would seize Sirte by force if negotiations with tribal leaders for its surrender failed.

Gadhafi has not been seen since rebel fighters seized Tripoli, and the Sirte region is considered one area where he may have fled.

The head of the opposition Transitional National Council, Mustafa Jalil, said Monday that Mr. Gadhafi still poses a threat to Libya and the world.  Jalil also called for the continued support of NATO, which has been carrying out airstrikes against pro-Gadhafi forces since March under a U.N. mandate to protect civilians.  His comments came as defense officials from countries involved militarily in Libya met in Qatar.

Earlier Sunday, rebels said they had captured the town of Bin Jawad, 150 kilometers east of Sirte, after several days battling loyalist fighters.

Human rights activists say pro-Gadhafi forces committed possible war crimes as rebels moved into the Libyan capital last week, killing scores of detainees and arbitrarily executing dozens of civilians.

Human Rights Watch said Sunday its researchers have documented more than 110 corpses in four locations in Tripoli, many of whom appear to have been killed execution-style either while in detention or with their hands bound.

A metal warehouse in a compound controlled until last week by Libya's elite Khamis Brigade contains about 50 scorched skeletons. A VOA correspondent who visited the structure said another eight bodies lie outside, one with his hands tied behind his back. A survivor said that as rebel forces approached, loyalist soldiers shot their prisoners, then tried to burn the bodies.

Opposition military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Bani said rebels are concerned for the fate of some 40,000 prisoners who were detained by Gadhafi's forces. Bani said Sunday that more than 10,000 detainees have been freed from government jails since Tripoli fell last week.

So far, there have been no specific allegations of atrocities carried out by rebel fighters. But the Associated Press reports it remains unclear who is responsible for some of the killings, including those of dozens of dark-skinned men whose bodies were found in two areas of Tripoli.

A Red Cross ship entered Tripoli harbor Sunday carrying supplies for the city, which saw days of fighting between rebels and Gadhafi supporters last week. A VOA correspondent reported that the capital has widespread shortages of medicine, drinking water and other basic supplies. Many areas are still without electricity.

Libyan rebels earlier gained control of a key border post near Tunisia, and the Reuters news agency reported Sunday that authorities in Tunis had reopened the main Ras Jdir crossing into Libya. Trucks loaded with food and other supplies began to move towards Tripoli, about a 2-hour drive away.

In the west, opposition fighters were still battling for control of Zuwarah. Rebels faced stiff resistance from Gadhafi loyalists during efforts to advance into the city, which is on a major supply route into Tripoli.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs