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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs