News / Africa

    Libyan Rebels Move to Regain Lost Ground

    Libyan rebels duck for cover during a failed attempt to take the town of Ajdabiya from Moammar Gadhafi's forces, March 21, 2011
    Libyan rebels duck for cover during a failed attempt to take the town of Ajdabiya from Moammar Gadhafi's forces, March 21, 2011

    Libyan rebels are taking advantage of the international assault on the government's military positions, reclaiming territory lost over the past 10 days.  

    Libyan opposition forces celebrated the allied military action, which cleared the highway south of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.  It was part of assaults, that also included setting up a no-fly zone to protect Libyan civilians from government forces.

    After regrouping Monday, the rebels pushed back against troops loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi, and were moving on the next major town, Ajdabiya, where government positions came under attack early in the day.

    But opposition sources in the western town of Misrata said government troops continue to encircle the town, using civilians as a shield against any attack by foreign forces.  Their accounts could not be independently verified.

    In the capital Tripoli, pro-Gadhafi forces were inspecting damage inflicted on their leader's Bab al Aziziya compound the evening before.

    Speaking by phone from Tripoli, Saleh Ibrahim, dean of the government-run Postgraduate Studies Academy, decried the missile attack.

    Ibrahim says that Libyans believe it was outside the scope of the U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing force to establish the no-fly zone.   Ibrahim contends the assault has "targeted" civilians.

    It was not clear whether anyone was hurt in the attack on the Gadhafi compound.  But Libya's government has said dozens of people have been killed since coalition air and missile strikes, led by the United States, Britain and France, began Saturday.

    General Carter Ham, head of the U.S. Africa command, said the coalition was very conscientious about limiting civilian casualties.  

    The Libyan claims could not be independently verified, but they prompted some to raise concerns about the mission.

    German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle spoke Monday as European Union officials were meeting in Brussels. "This does not mean that we are neutral.  This does not mean that we have any sympathy with the dictator Gadhafi.  But it means that we see the risks, and when we listen closely to what the Arab League yesterday said, unfortunately, we see that we had reasons for our concern," he said.

    Westerwelle was referring to worries raised by Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who said Sunday that military actions have gone beyond the no-fly zone he says was envisioned.  Moussa appeared to retreat somewhat from that criticism in a meeting Monday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    Talking to reporters in Cairo, Ban said it is important the international community speak with one voice. "The support of the Arab League figured prominently in the Security Council's adoption of a historic Security Council resolution authorizing the use of all necessary measures to protect civilians and save lives, including a no-fly zone," he said.

    Pro-Gadhafi supporters in Cairo showed their displeasure with the international assault, harassing the U.N. chief during a visit to Tahrir Square.

    He had just left the nearby Arab League headquarters, where regional leaders have walked a fine line in their dealings with Libya.  There is little affection among them for Colonel Gadhafi, but international action against a long-ruling autocrat has left many in the Arab world unsettled.

    Some observers are not surprised by the ambivalence shown.  

    "We cannot expect the League of Arab States to not issue a statement condemning the killing of Arab civilians.  The important fact here is that all the reports about the number of civilians falling dead due to the air strikes is actually coming from Libyan national television, which has proved zero credibility over the past crisis," he said.

    Akl believes that Arab League members trying to distance themselves from the campaign may review their position once more facts come out.

    Also Monday, the Libyan government released four journalists from The New York Times .   The four went missing last Tuesday.  Libya's government later said the four were in its custody, and accused them of entering the country illegally.

    In pictures: Conflict and Chaos in Libya

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

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.