08/24/2011, 00.00
LIBYA
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Civilians victimised by rebels and loyalists in chaos-stricken Tripoli

An Italian businesswoman talks about the severity of the situation in the Libyan capital, media lies and the rebels’ atrocities. People are afraid, locked up in their homes without humanitarian aid and medicine because of NATO’s embargo.
Tripoli (AsiaNews) – Fighting between rebels and Libyan government forces continues in Tripoli. This morning explosions shook the city and gunfire can be heard in the streets. Following the fall of the Bab al Azizia compound, rebels are moving onto the Abu Slimi special prison, located near the Rixos Hotel, home to foreign journalists. After days of silence, Gaddafi released another radio message, in which he said he would resist until death and called on the people to rise up against the invaders. In order to end the war, Great Britain has call for UN peacekeepers to be sent to the country, but at present NATO has excluded any action by foreign troops on Libyan soil.

AsiaNews spoke to Tiziana Gamannossi, an Italian businesswoman in Tripoli. She stressed that civilians have been abandoned to their fate and are an easy target of both rebels and loyalist forces.

“It’s total chaos here,” she said. “We are locked up inside our home for fear of shootings and air strikes that continue non-stop.”

There is no humanitarian aid in the city. People are left to their own devices with residents helping each other, Gamannossi said.

NATO is not allowing the Libyan government to buy medicines and only the Red Cross and Doctors without Borders can operate in the field. However, they are few in numbers and badly organised. Their work consists of handing out basic drugs to some hospitals. All access points and ports in western Libya are blocked. Petrol and basic items are available only at black market prices.

The businesswoman slams the lies of Western media, which belittle the situation by spreading news that are sometimes false and mislead even Libyans.

“The rebels are divided,” she said. “Some believe in change and a democratic future for Libya; others are just murderers.” In her view, atrocities abound with people killed in cold blood and without a motive. “The impression,” she explained, “is that we have gone back 2,000 years.”

“There are two factions in Tripoli. Pro-rebel pr pro-Gaddafi supporters come out depending on the situation,” she said. “With such chaos, the danger of a bloodbath is quite real.”

Many of those killed are youngsters who went out into the streets to celebrate peacefully the end of the government after they read about Gaddafi’s fall on Facebook or the internet.

However, armed rebels were among them and during the celebrations engaged Gaddafi loyalists in gunfights. Kids, barely teenagers, have paid a heavy price.

The effects of open warfare in the capital are clear to everyone, the businesswoman said, especially to the Libyan regime, which had called for an end to air strikes to let the people, not bombs, determine the future of the country.

“It is scandalous that this war is still seen as a way to finding political solutions,” she said.
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