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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid