|arya||Date: Tuesday, 24-January-2012, 2:05 AM | Message # 1|
|Fighters loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have seized back the town of Bani Walid and raised the late dictator's green flag, in a blow to Libya's struggling provisional government. |
Reports said at least four people were killed during clashes between besieged forces loyal to the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) and armed and well-organised supporters of Gaddafi. "They control the town now. They are roaming the town," one militia member was quoted as saying of the pro-Gaddafi fighters, according to Reuters.
Bani Walid, a former regime stronghold 110 miles south-east of Tripoli, was one of the last to succumb to pro-government forces after the capital fell in August. The latest clashes mark the most significant loyalist attack since Libya was officially "liberated" on 23 October. It appears further evidence of the NTC's weakness, incapacity and internal divisions ahead of supposed national elections later this year.
About 30 pro-government were reported to have been injured in exchanges of fire. Mahmud Warfelli, spokesman of Bani Walid local council, said 100-150 men armed with heavy weapons launched a carefully planned attack, swiftly overwhelming the town. Soldiers from the May 28 Brigade were pinned down in a compound and the attackers took up sniper positions in a mosque and a school, preventing the pro-government fighters from helping their wounded to safety.
Warfelli said the defenders' ammunition supplies had almost run out and he had had appealed to Tripoli and the defence ministry to send reinforcements. No help had come, he said. "We're out of the frying pan into the fire. We've been warning about this for the past two months," he said, according to AFP.
Full article/source - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world....ed=true