News / Africa

    Libyan Opposition Moves Westward, as Bloody Uprising Continues

    A Libyan doctor treats a wounded man who was injured last week during the demonstration against Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, in Benghazi, Libya, February 24, 2011
    A Libyan doctor treats a wounded man who was injured last week during the demonstration against Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, in Benghazi, Libya, February 24, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi continue to attack anti-government protesters, but the opposition groups appear to be gaining more of a foothold, despite the brutal crackdown.

    The official picture coming out of Libya is far different from the one presented by Libyan civilians.

    Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, downplayed reports of casualties when he appeared on Libyan state television Thursday to discuss the uprising.

    He said only a small number of people had died, but he did not provide a figure. And he invited foreign media to tour Libya Friday, challenging them to find evidence of bombings or brutality.

    Hundreds killed, say sources

    But hospital sources, human rights groups and witnesses tell a far bloodier story.  

    "I can't manage [to say] how many dead exactly, more than 300 in Benghazi, and injured more than 3,000," said Dr. Hisham Mustafa Abou Dabous, a physician at a hospital in the now opposition-controlled eastern city of Benghazi, where the revolt began.

    While much of the east is reported to be under opposition control, the revolt against Gadhafi is spreading westward toward the capital, Tripoli.Witnesses told foreign media that the Libyan army attacked anti-government protesters in a mosque in the city of Zawiya Thursday. They described heavy casualties after security forces used anti-aircraft missiles and automatic weapons.

    Slide show of latest situation in Libya

    Clashes in Misrata

    Multiple witnesses say opposition protesters have driven security forces out of the coastal city of Misrata, but there are also reports of ongoing clashes there.

    A Libyan protester holds up a sign against Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi during a demonstration, in Tobruk, Libya, February 23, 2011
    A Libyan protester holds up a sign against Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi during a demonstration, in Tobruk, Libya, February 23, 2011

    Moammar Gadhafi addressed Libyans via telephone on Libyan state television Thursday afternoon.  He said the uprising is the work of al-Qaida, and he accused anti-government protesters of being trigger-happy teenagers and drug addicts.

    Senior Libyan government officials have said they view journalists who enter the country without permission as al-Qaida collaborators. It is difficult to independently confirm accounts coming out of the region.  

    Gadhafi appears to be losing sway within the international community and within his own circle of influence. One of Gadhafi’s closest aides, Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, defected in protest of the fierce crackdown on demonstrators.

    Libya sanctions

    The U.S. government has condemned the ongoing violence. European Union nations have agreed to discuss possible sanctions against Libya. Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has said, if the crackdown continues, sanctions are inevitable.

    Speaking after a meeting with Arab League chief Amr Moussa in Cairo Thursday, Westerwelle again denounced the violent suppression of the Libyan people.

    "We cannot accept that a dictator is really punishing in such a violent way his own people, the young people of Libya," said Westerwelle. "This is a war of a dictator against the young people. And this is something which we condemn absolutely, in a clear language."

    Italy’s Interior Minister Ernesto Roberto Maroni is calling on EU nations to provide urgent help in coping with what he called "a catastrophic humanitarian crisis" that is building in Libya. Interior ministers from Mediterranean countries are discussing ways to handle the flow of refugees.

    Libyan anti-government protesters are calling for major rallies against Gadhafi’s rule on Friday.

    Protests continue in Yemen

    Anti-government protestors chant slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, February 24, 2011
    Anti-government protestors chant slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, February 24, 2011

    Elsewhere in the region, protests continued Thursday in Yemen’s capital Sana’a.

    They denounced the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and called for him to leave.

    Yemen's president has ordered security forces to prevent direct confrontations between pro-government and anti-government demonstrators, after video circulated of clashes between rival protesters while police stood aside.  Two anti-government protesters were killed in Sana’a this week.

    Meanwhile, Egypt is in a state of transition, nearly two weeks after a popular uprising forced the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Security officials Thursday said Egyptian authorities have arrested the former information minister and the head of state broadcasting for alleged corruption.

    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora