“There are at least four martyrs from the thuwar (anti-Gaddafi revolutionaries) and 20 are injured,” said Mahmud Warfelli, spokesman of Bani Walid local council, in the attack — the first major outburst of violence in the town since the end of the anti-Gaddafi conflict in October.
He said the attack was launched by “a group of remnants of the old regime,” and called for outside help against a feared “massacre.”
“There are around 100 and 150 men armed with heavy weapons who are attacking. We have asked for the army to intervene, but the defence ministry and NTC (National Transitional Council) have let us down,” he said.
“We’re out of the frying pan into the fire. We’ve been warning about this for the past two months,” he said.
Another local official, M’barek al-Fotmani, said the assailants had circled the base of former rebels who helped topple Gaddafi last year.
“The compound of thuwar is surrounded on all sides by loyalists of Gaddafi who are attacking it with all kinds of weapons,” said Fotmani, a former NTC member for Bani Walid, 170 kilometres (110 miles) southwest of Tripoli.
“The attackers are carrying green flags,” symbol of the Gaddafi regime, he said from inside the base.
Fotmani said the base belonged to the May 28 Brigade, a unit of former rebels attached to the defence ministry.
“The attackers shouted ‘Allah, Moamer, Libya and that’s it!,” he said, referring to a slogan popularised by Gaddafi loyalists during his rule.
“Yesterday they had distributed leaflets saying “We will be back soon. We will take the rats out,’” Fotmani added.
“I call upon Libya to save Bani Walid thuwar urgently. Their ammunition is almost over.”
He also said ambulances were unable to evacuate those wounded because there were “snipers postioned on a school and a mosque in the vicinity” of the attack.
Bani Walid was one of the last pro-Gaddafi bastions to fall in the bloody uprising against the former dictator’s rule.
The capture of Bani Walid was followed by the fall of the longtime strongman’s hometown Sirte in a battle which also led to his killing and marked the “liberation” of Libya.
UAB offers special rates and benefits for its environmentally-cautious retail customers
AWNIC maintains a robust financial stance, boasting exceptional capital adequacy
Available to pre order with 36 hours’ notice: 15th December 2023 - 7th January 2024
School elevates climate education in its classrooms