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: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ebola Lockdown May Be Extended

Lockdown, which started Friday, aims to allow health workers to locate hidden Ebola patients, educate others on how to avoid the deadly disease More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid