Bodies are lying in the streets of the besieged Libyan city of Misrata and its hospital is overflowing with the injured, an evacuee has said after arriving in Tunisia.
Corpses In The Streets
The Guardian reports:
An aid ship operated by the charity Médecins Sans Frontières docked in the Tunisian port of Sfax carrying 71 injured people from Misrata, many with bullet wounds and broken limbs and one whose face was completely disfigured by burns.
“You have to visit Misrata to see the massacre by Gaddafi,” said Omar Boubaker, a 40-year-old engineer who was shot in the leg. “Corpses in the street … the hospital overflowing. Doctors taking care of people in the street. There’s no space left in the hospital,” he said.
Misrata is the only big rebel stronghold left in western Libya and has been under attack for weeks by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. Accounts from Misrata cannot be independently verified because Libyan authorities are not allowing journalists to report freely from the city.
Nato says the fighting in and around Misrata is its number one focus. It is increasing its reconnaissance missions to track what is going on on the ground.
But the Libyan rebel commander, Gen Abdul Fattah Younis, has accused NATO of standing idly by while pro-Gaddafi forces kill people in Misrata.
Why Is This Massacre Happening?
In spite of the implementation of the no-fly zone, there is a stalemate in Libya, and Gaddafi’s grip on the western part of Libya is still strong.
The Nato-led coalition mandated by the UN to protect civilians is enforcing a no-fly zone and attacking ground targets. It accuses Gaddafi forces of sheltering weapons in civilian areas.
Human Beings Used As Shields
From the BBC:
Nato says international air strikes have reduced Colonel Gaddafi’s military capabilities by nearly a third but his forces have deliberately moved weaponry into civilian areas to hamper air strikes.
“When human beings are used as shields we don’t engage,” Brig Gen Mark van Uhm, a senior Nato staff officer, said in Brussels.
Pro-Gaddafi forces, he added, were resorting more and more to using trucks and light vehicles, “keeping more heavy equipment like armoured vehicles [hidden]“.
“So, without even targeting them, we already have an effect in that he can’t use them,” he said.
The Pentagon has confirmed it has ended its strike mission after flying a total of 1,600 sorties, 600 of them strike sorties, but it continues to provide support to Nato such as air-to-air refuelling and intelligence-gathering.
Libyan Rebels Sell First Oil Shipment For $125 Million
Meanwhile, Libyan rebels have received a crucial financial boost, selling an estimated $125m worth of oil to a Swiss trading company – the first export of Libyan oil in nearly three weeks.
The 1m-barrel consignment is due to be loaded on to a tanker near the key eastern oil port of Tobruk on Wednesday. It will provide essential funds to bolster the political credibility of the revolutionary council, allowing it to pay wages to the large numbers of people who had relied on government salaries, as well as funding imports of food and, possibly, weapons. The sale will also help the revolutionary leadership project itself as a viable alternative to the regime in Tripoli.
No Sign Of How This Will End
This is good news, but the reality is that almost two months after the battle for freedom in Libya began, there is still no indication of how and when it will end.
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photo from iStock