Fighters tell Gaddafi town to surrender by tomorrow

Last Updated: Sunday, September 4, 2011 - 18:08

Tarhuna: Libyan fighters have given
forces in Bani Walid until 1330 IST tomorrow to surrender, a
commander said, adding Muammar Gaddafi`s son Saadi was still
there but another, Seif al-Islam, had fled.

"The revolutionaries have given an ultimatum to the
tribal chiefs in Bani Walid," Abdulrazzak Naduri, deputy chief
of the military council in Tarhuna, told a news agency.

"Either they raise the white flag of surrender or the
fighting begins."

However the head of the National Transitional Council,
Mustafa Abdel Jalil, said in Benghazi that a truce declared
until September 10 was still in force.

Naduri said Saadi Gaddafi, the toppled strongman`s
spokesman Mussa Ibrahim, and Mansur Dau, head of the
revolutionary committees that propped up Gaddafi`s regime,
were still in Bani Walid, 180 kilometres southeast of Tripoli.

But the most prominent son, Seif al-Islam, had fled two
days ago, he said, adding, "God alone knows which road he
took."

Abdel Jalil, leader of the provisional administration set
up to take over power from the defeated Gaddafi, told a news
conference, "We are in a position of strength to enter any
city but we want to avoid any bloodshed, especially in
sensitive areas such as tribal areas.

"We gave Sirte, Bani Walid... and Sabha one more week.
"This extension does not mean we are unaware of Gaddafi`s
danger," Abdel Jalil said. "Our forces will move militarily
until the end of this extension."

Gaddafi is quickly losing fighters, with many of his new
recruits simply handing over their weapons to his foes, a
military commander of the new leadership said today.

Abdelhakim Belhaj, head of the Tripoli military council,
said earlier that a civilian group ventured into Bani Walid,
the Gaddafi stronghold closest to the capital, on Thursday.

They found many of the checkpoints of the city undefended
with most guards abandoning their posts in what Belhaj
described as a "surprising move."

"We can now say that Bani Walid is open," he said.
Some 600 men aboard 200 combat vehicles moved to within
20
kilometres of Bani Walid without meeting any opposition today,
but returned to their base in Misrata, fighters said.
Tarhuna lies some 80 kilometres north of Bani Walid.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, September 4, 2011 - 00:44

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