News / Africa

Libyan Rebels Seize Gadhafi Compound

Smoke rises above downtown Tripoli following fighting at Bab Al-Aziziya compound August 23, 2011
Smoke rises above downtown Tripoli following fighting at Bab Al-Aziziya compound August 23, 2011

Rebel fighters have seized Moammar Gadhafi's compound in the capital, Tripoli, and are celebrating what they consider a major victory over the Libyan leader and his loyalist troops.

The rebel fighters fought their way into Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound Tuesday despite heavy gunfire from pro-Gadhafi forces.  Hundreds of rebels could be seen firing their weapons in the air in celebration. Others waved flags and tore down posters of Gadhafi.

Black smoke filled the skyline while gunfire and explosions continued around the compound and several other parts of the city.

As rebels celebrate the fall of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Libyans from outside the capital are heading towards Tripoli. Mohammed al-Abdallah, an official with the opposition movement National Front of the Salvation of Libya, told VOA from the city of Misrata that he wanted to work to get Tripoli back to normal.

Listen to JulieAnn McKellogg's interview with Mohammed al-Abdallah

Awad al-Faituri, a businessman who just returned to Libya three days ago after spending 30 years working abroad, said celebrations also had erupted in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Listen to JulieAnn McKellogg's interview with Awad al-Faituri

As revelers take to the streets of Tripoli celebrating the overtaking of Moammar Gadhafi's compound in the capitol, some Libyans are celebrating from home until the violence subsides.  Talis Aghil, a 23-year-old Libyan activist, spoke to VOA on Skype from her home in Tripoli.  She has not left her home out of fear, but believes within a day she will be on the streets celebrating with her fellow Libyans.

Listen to JulieAnn McKellogg's interview with Talis Aghil

members of his inner circle were in the compound at the time, or the city of Tripoli.  U.S. officials in Washington said Tuesday they believe Gadhafi was still in Libya.

In New York, Libya's Deputy U.N. Ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi, told reporters he expects Tripoli to be completely liberated within the next 72 hours.

EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton said Tuesday the rebels' political leader, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, told her they have control of 80 percent of the Libyan capital.  

Meanwhile, Libyan rebels say they also have taken control of the eastern oil port of Ras Lanuf Tuesday.  The major oil port is east on the road to Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte.

A resident of Benghazi told VOA that residents of the rebel-stronghold were honking their horns and waving flags out of their cars in celebration.  He said he expected many more people to celebrate after Muslims broke their daily Ramadan fast in the evening.

A NATO spokeswoman, Oana Lungescu, told reporters in Brussels that NATO's mission in Libya is not over, and that it will continue military operations until all attacks and threats of attacks against civilians have stopped.

NATO military spokesman Colonel Roland Lavoie added that NATO forces are not specifically targeting Gadhafi, but that the alliance will strike "wherever is necessary" in Libya to protect civilians.

Gadhafi's whereabouts are unknown. But his son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, defiantly appeared in the city late Monday saying his father was still in Tripoli and that his government was still in control.

The rebels earlier claimed to have arrested Seif al-Islam, but he spoke to foreign journalists at the Gadhafi-controlled Rixos Hotel, then led a convoy of vehicles through loyalist areas, where television footage showed him pumping his fists in the air as supporters cheered him on.

The International Criminal Court on Tuesday disputed reports that it had earlier confirmed Seif al-Islam's detention, saying the court never received official word from the opposition Transitional National Council.

Senior rebel sources also said another of Gadhafi's sons - Mohammed - escaped house arrest Monday.  A third son apparently is still in detention.

Opposition council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Gadhafi will receive a fair trial if captured, and that the "real moment of victory" will be when he is taken into custody.

Jalil acknowledged that the rebels have yet to establish full control in Tripoli, where forces loyal to Gadhafi have battled rebels in scattered pockets.  

The International Organization for Migration said Tuesday the fighting in Tripoli has forced it to delay docking a ship to begin evacuating stranded migrants.  The group said the ship, which can carry 300 people, will remain off shore until the security situation improves.

In addition to parts of Tripoli, pro-government forces also control at least two major cities affiliated with his tribe - Sabha, to the south, and Sirte, some 450 kilometers east of the capital along the coast.  NATO says government forces fired three Scud missiles toward the city of Misrata, but no injuries were reported.

The rebels broke through Tripoli's outer defenses Sunday and reached the city's central Green Square, where thousands celebrated the opposition's arrival and tore down posters of Gadhafi. Until recently, the government had used the area for mass demonstrations in support of Gadhafi.

The rebel troops moved into central Tripoli with little resistance after capturing a key military base run by the government's elite Khamis Brigade and commanded by another of Gadhafi's sons.

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

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