Some 22 persons have been killed and 200 others seriously injured following the clashes between pro-government militia and gunmen in former leader Muammar Gaddafi’s bastion, in Libya’s town of Bani Walid
For several days, Pro-government armed forces, many of whom are from the rival town of Misrata, have been bombarding Bani Walid. Government is claiming that Bani Walid is keeping in their possession a number of Gaddafi loyalists.
But this claim has been denied by the militia in the town, found about 140km (90 miles) south-east of Tripoli. Also, the Misrata fighters are apparently looking for a way to capture the men who supposedly kidnapped and tortured the man credited with capturing Gaddafi last October.Last month, Omran Ben Shaaban, a former fighter from Misrata, died after purportedly spending two months in detention in Bani Walid. His death enraged Misrata’s militia and on Sunday Bani Walid militia leader Abdelkarim Ghomaid declared that the attacks are continuing.
The prime minister’s office said on Saturday that government forces had arrested Moussa Ibrahim Gaddafi’s ex-spokesman south of Tripoli.
Nasser al-Manaa, the prime minister’s spokesman later denounce the proclamation saying that there was no proof of the capture. However, Mr Ibrahim later appeared on the internet denying the news of his supposedly arrest through a recording. On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur said that the announcement about Mr Ibrahim’s arrest had been made without confirmation of the news. For the meantime, confusion still remains about reports that Moussa Ibrahim, Gaddafi’s ex-spokesman, has been captured.
Demonstrators have also stormed the offices of a private Libyan television station in Benghazi Sunday, protesting coverage of the clashes in Bani Walid, one of the last bastions of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. The demonstrators broke into the offices of Libya Al-Hurra station, wrecking the site and set fire to an office, an AFP journalist witnessed. The demonstrators were protesting against the station for having announced the capture of Khamis, one of Muammar Gaddafi’s sons, in Bani Walid.They say that this had been used to justify attacks launched by ex-rebel fighters conscripted by the army against the city, which lies about 185km south-east of Tripoli.
The shelling is coming from all sides and Libya’s new government has struggled to crush its authority on a country covered with weapons. The fighting comes approximately at the first anniversary of Gaddafi’s capture in Sirte, on October 20, 2011 and he was later killed near his hometown. Interim leader Mohammed Magarief has confesses that one year on, the country has not yet been fully liberated.