10/20/2012, 00.00
LIBYA
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Libya, battle for Bani Walid divides population

The assault on the last stronghold of the tribes loyal to Gaddafi has already claimed 11 lives and dozens of wounded. The Misrata militias, historic rivals of the rais want to raze the city without the consent of the army, but they are increasingly isolated from the population. Sources tell AsiaNews acts of solidarity of hospitals and private citizens to aid the besieged population.

Tripoli (AsiaNews) - In the battle for the conquest of Bani Walid, the last stronghold of the tribes loyal to Gaddafi, there is no room for diplomacy. Last night, the Misrata militias blocked the diplomatic car of Megaryef Mohammed, president of the Libyan National Assembly, appointed by the government in a last effort at mediation with tribal leaders reluctant to surrender the city to the army considered too close to the rebels. The leaders of the Warfalla tribes, to which Gaddafi belonged and the largest in Libya, fear for their lives, citing the massacre of Tawarga, another city loyal to Gaddafi razed in October 2011 by the Misrata militias.

The siege of the last stronghold loyal to the regime, however, is dividing Libya. Sources tell AsiaNews that external forces are at work to keep the country in chaos and prevent a true reconciliation. "The Libyans - they explain - especially young people, are tired of war, which has brought the country back 50 years and sparked fratricidal hate between families." Following the example of the people of Benghazi, on October 16, several young men of Misurata stormed arms depots in the hands of militias that control the city. The action slowed down the attack on Bani Walid for a few days, which is considered by many as "a pointless bloodshed."

Against the guerrillas' weapons, many Libyans are responding with gestures of solidarity towards their fellow citizens. AsiaNews sources confirm that several cities anonymously sent aid to the Gaddafi stronghold. In recent days, the hospitals of Tripoli, Misurata and Benghazi have it delivered to a small neutral delegation packages with medicine, food and basic necessities. "The delivery - specify the sources - occurred in secret.  The people are afraid of the militia and fear reprisals." In parallel to military initiatives, associations and humanitarian organizations run by young Libyans are also growing. The most recent is the organization "No Name - No limits" founded on 12 September in Tripoli to help families affected by the war, without distinction of tribes or factions.

The struggle to defeat the remnants of tribes loyal to Gaddafi began on October 17 without the permission of the army, and has already cost 11 dead and hundreds injured. The attack took place a year after the liberation of the city by the Islamist rebels of Misrata. They have laid siege to the birthplace of Gaddafi since September and have announced they will avenge the death of Omar ben Shaaban, 22, mastermind of Gaddafi's capture, who was killed Sept. 25 by the guerrillas of Bani Walid. (S.C.)

 

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