News / Africa

Opposition Leader: Libyans Will Pay 'Ultimate Price' for Freedom

Libyan rebel scans the field as they wait for the signal to advance at an intersection just outside Brega, Libya, April 3, 2011
Libyan rebel scans the field as they wait for the signal to advance at an intersection just outside Brega, Libya, April 3, 2011

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  • Clottey interview with Mufta Lamloom, leader of the main opposition Libyan National Movement

Peter Clottey

The leader of the main opposition Libyan National Movement says embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi is fully aware that ordinary Libyans will pay the “ultimate price” to achieve the objective of the revolution, which he says is about embracing democracy.

Mufta Lamloom says Gadhafi has denied Libyans the “full” democracy they have wanted over the past four decades.

“The essence of the revolution is that people will have democracy. People want democracy. They have been denied democracy for nearly 42 years and this is why people are very much eager to have a full democracy in Libya, a proper democracy, not the democracy that Gadhafi says that the people rule, which is nothing but Gadhafi’s rule,” Lamloom said.

As the battle rages for control of the strategic oil town of Brega, a British diplomatic mission arrived Saturday in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

The team is led by senior diplomat Christopher Prentice, who visited the eastern city last week. The Foreign Office in London, while confirming the visit, provided few details except to say Prentice is conferring with leaders of the rebels' National Transition Council [NTC].

Lamloom says Gadhafi’s regime will fall despite his apparent victory over what he describes as poorly-armed revolutionaries.

“Gadhafi knows very well that the Libyan people will pay whatever price to get rid of him. We are actually not afraid or tired of fighting Gadhafi or stopping half-way and say, ‘Well, we accept half-way those half-resolutions, or meet half-way with Gadhafi. Gadhafi and his family must be out of Libyan politics forever because we don’t want Gadhafi,” said Lamloom.

“He is a dictator and [he] created a very bad dictatorship. It’s a dictatorship which has stained our history with blood for 42 years and we don’t want that regime. This is why people are very much decided in their resolution that they have to win this battle with Gadhafi,” he added.

Lamloom also says the NTC is putting together a plan after Gadhafi’s regime fall.

“A week after the fall of the Gadhafi regime, the Transitional Council will call for a general national conference in Tripoli with representatives from the cities if Libya according to their populations. From the conference, people will be elected…and will form an interim government to run state affairs for one year and then prepare a constitution, which will be put forward for a referendum,” Lamloom says.

“After the referendum will be the constitution. There would be a call for a general election according to that constitution. And, once it is complete, the government of the day will assume the full responsibility of running the state. It’s [a] one-year interim government,” he added.

In Brega, rebel forces, facing the more heavily-armed government troops, were said to have made a tactical withdrawal. Still, a rebel commander said the forces opposing the Gadhafi regime are becoming better organized and better trained.

NATO said it is investigating a coalition air strike near Brega Friday that claimed the lives of 13 rebel soldiers. The head of the TNC called the bombing an unfortunate mistake, apparently the result of someone in the group firing an anti-aircraft gun into the air.

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