Sunday, August 28, 2011

Survivor in Libya: Gadhafi forces killed detainees

A man has told The Associated Press he survived a massacre by Moammar Gadhafi loyalists who opened fire on about 130 civilian detainees.
On Sunday, an AP reporter saw at least 50 charred bodies at the site near a military camp held by Gadhafi supporters until rebels took Tripoli.
Mabrouk Abdullah, who was at the site Sunday, says he and other prisoners were told by a guard they would be released Tuesday. Instead, guards threw hand grenades and opened fire at detainees huddling in a hangar.
Abdullah says he had been crouching along a wall and was shot in his side. He says that as survivors of the initial attack tried to flee, they came under fire again.
Human rights groups accuse both sides in Libya of abuses against detainees.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Evidence indicates that loyalists of Moammar Gadhafi killed at least 17 detainees and arbitrarily executed dozens of civilians as rebels moved into Tripoli, a New York-based human rights groups said Sunday.
Reporters touring Tripoli have found clusters of decomposing corpses in several areas of the capital, including a roundabout near Gadhafi's Bab al-Azizya stronghold.
"The evidence we have been able to gather so far strongly suggests that Gadhafi government forces went on a spate of arbitrary killing as Tripoli was falling," said Sarah Leah Witson of Human Rights Watch.
Since rolling into the Libyan capital a week ago, rebels have fought fierce battles with regime loyalists, but by the weekend had largely pushed them to the outskirts of the city.
The rebels now control most of Libya, but Gadhafi remains at large.
Moussa Ibrahim, Gadhafi's chief spokesman, called AP headquarters in New York late Saturday and said Gadhafi is still in Libya. Ibrahim said he himself is in Tripoli and that he saw Gadhafi on Friday.
Gadhafi is offering to talk to the rebels about forming a transitional government, said Ibrahim, identified by his voice. Gadhafi's son al-Saadi would lead the negotiations, Ibrahim said.
In the past, Gadhafi referred to the rebels as "thugs" and "rats." The rebels have said they will not negotiate with Gadhafi, who ruled Libya with an iron fist for 42 years.
Instead, rebel fighters are preparing for an assault on Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, should negotiations with tribal elders for a peaceful surrender fail. Rebels deployed in Bin Jawad, a town about 100 miles (150 kilometers) east of Sirte, said they are waiting for NATO to bomb Scud missile launchers and possible weapons warehouses there.
Earlier this month, two Scuds were fired from near Sirte, a first in Libya's 6-month-old civil war.
In battle-scarred Tripoli, residents were struggling with severe shortages of fuel, water and electricity and the stench of growing mounds of garbage filled the air.
Fuel prices have skyrocketed. In Tripoli, the cost of 20 liters (about 5 gallons) has jumped to about 120 dinars ($100) — 28 times the price before fighting broke.
Mahmoud Shammam, the rebels' information minister, said he hoped the area's largest refinery, near the city of Zawiya, some 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli, could be restarted soon. Mohammed Aziz, an operations manager there, said the refinery would start operating Monday.
Meanwhile, a large ferry chartered by the International Organization for Migration docked in Tripoli's harbor, unloading food, water and medical supplies. On Sunday, the vessel is to take aboard 1,200 stranded foreigners, an IOM official said.
The killings by Gadhafi troops took place in the past week, as rebel fighters gradually took control of Tripoli, the Human Rights Watch report said.
Osama Al-Swayi said he survived a massacre at a building of the Libyan Internal Security service in the Gargur neighborhood on Monday. Al-Swayi said he had been detained by soldiers from the Khamis Brigade, commanded by one of Gadhafi's sons, two days before the shooting. Twenty-five people were detained in the building, he said.More...

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