Tripoli Under Rebel Control As Horrors of Libyan Conflict Emerge


The Libyan rebels have captured a key checkpoint on the Libya-Tunisia border, taking control of the main supply route to Tripoli, Al Jazeera reports. Late on Friday, the rebels raised the pre-Gaddafi Libyan flag at the checkpoint, Ras Jidir.

The rebels’ National Transitional Council (NTC) has begun to transfer the government to Tripoli. But  the NTC’s claims that it has established authority are still “undermined” as fighting with supporters of Muammar el-Gaddafi continues, and the hunt for Gaddafi and his family has been so far unsuccessful. The rebels do not have any “concrete information” about Gaddafi’s whereabouts. The leader of the NTC, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, has said that  they “might consider inviting police officers from Arab or Muslim states to Libya to help with security, but did not want a police presence from any other nations.” Rebel forces are currently in negotiations with Gaddafi supporters to surrender control of the deposed leader’s home town, Sirte; the rebels have reportedly taken control of the town of Bin Jawad, which is about 140 kilometers from Sirte. NATO carried out multiple airstrikes overnight above Sirte and also Tripoli to help the rebels’ effort.

On Saturday, Egypt’s state news agency, MENA, reported that a “convoy of six Mercedes” crossed from Libya into Algeria:

According to Reuters, it was impossible to verify the report and it was not immediately clear who might have been in any convoy, but MENA quoted the source as speculating that senior Libyan officials or Muammar Gaddafi himself and his sons may have fled the country.

“It is believed that these vehicles were carrying senior Libyan officials, and possibly Gaddafi and his sons,” MENA quoted the source as saying.

A report from the Associated Press says that Tripoli appears to be largely under rebel control. The NTC has announced measures to address the shortages of food, water and fuel in Tripoli, says the BBC; there is currently no running water and no electricity in the city of almost 2 million. In the midst of the chaos, Gaddafi’s Bab al-Azaziya compound has become “Tripoli’s newest and most extraordinary tourist attraction :

Dozens wandered in through the concealed entrance: two green doors leading to a shady garden of figs and lime trees. Fires still burned. In one ravaged bedroom a man knocked on the wall. “Are you there, Gaddafi?” he joked. Everyone laughed.

“I’m taking photos to show to my brothers and family still in Tunisia,” Salah Ermih explained, clicking the ransacked interior on his mobile phone camera. Ermih, a surgeon, said he had dashed out from his overworked hospital to have a look at Gaddafi’s inner sanctum.”

The humanitarian situation in Tripoli is grave, says the International Committee of the Red Cross of Geneva, which has also raised serious concerns about the treatment of detainees on both sides settling scores violently. Dozens of decomposing bodies, of both men and women — some strapped to gurneys — have been found in a Tripoli hospital next to Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound. The New York Times reports that 40 corpses — most darker-skinned than Libyans, suggesting that they may have been sub-Saharan Africans — were found piled up; the rebels have claimed that Gaddafi hired mercenaries to fight but have yet to offer proof.

According to the BBC, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is desperately seeking to reach sub-Saharan migrant workers. The head of the IOM in Benghazi, Martin Jerrett, says that “Africans were facing deep hostility from the population of Tripoli because they were generally viewed as ‘mercenaries and/or close to the regime.’” Most migrants are without embassy representation and are isolated.

The NTC predicts that it will take at least a decade to rebuild Libya’s infrastructure. Gaddafi’s 42 years of rule, says the New York Times, has left the country with “no parliament, no unified military command, no political parties, no unions, no civil society and no nongovernmental organizations.” The only ministry that functioned was the state oil company. But during the conflict, the production of oil — Libya’s biggest export — has fallen from 1.6 million barrels a day to fewer than 100,000.

Previous Care2 Coverage

McCain Pledged To Help Gaddafi Get Military Aircraft, Says Leaked Cable

Libya, Obama and American Global Leadership

Rebels Seize Gaddafi’s Compound But Where Is He? (video)


Photo of rebels entering the Gaddafi compound by magharebia


Huda G.
Huda G6 years ago

God willing Libyans will unite together, they united togther to destroy Gaddafi and his supporters. They have worked together from all walks of life, fighting together, sharing happy and sad moments together. They now need to walk together to rebuild all the cities that have been destroyed. To comfort each other. Many Libyans who were exiled want to return, they want to help rebuild. They have been in many different countries seen how governments work, they need to share their experiences.
God Willing Libya can be a great place to live and work.

Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y6 years ago

Good first step but a long way to go. The U.N. and Red Cross/Crescent need to get in right away and help start basic services like water, medical and security. Human rights continue to be a big issue. Not a 'victory' for the West or anyone else, that is a crazy statement.

The suffering of the Lybian people is real, on all sides. The U.S. and NATO knew this going in. The intent was to shorten the suffering and give them a chance. It will be their own government, for the first time in 40 years - not ours, not anybody else's. If it's Islamist so what? The people will get the government they deserve. What will happen nobody knows but both African and European neighbors are cautiously hopeful. The rest of us can only watch.

Vernon Huffman
Vernon Huffman6 years ago

This is apparently part of a huge disinformation campaign, including shots of celebrations that were not filmed in Tripoli at all. I'm getting first hand reports that, in spite of heavy civilian casualties, the people of Libya are still fighting hard against NATO and their hired gun "rebels." Anybody else having flashbacks to a certain "mission accomplished" banner?

Penny C.
penny C6 years ago


Ellen Mccabe
Ellen m6 years ago

Great news, hopefully the Syrians can get the same results. They both fought so hard for change I believe IF ASKED, we should lend our support in setting up thier new repugs needed in that task, thanks anyway.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago

I hope the rebels take a strong stand for democracy, whatever that looks like to them and a hard stand against a theocracy. I wish the people of Libya their own freedom to their pursuit of happiness.

Camila K.
Kamila A6 years ago

May the best of leaders come to take charge at this time.

Linda T.
Linda T6 years ago

I pray they have the strength to unite and form a government of the people. Good luck in your new quest for freedom.

Eug F.
Eug F.6 years ago

Some comments here must be from plants (literal and figurative). Liks Mrs S....Libya has the highest participation of women in all of the Arab and possibly the African world. And Im betting you got your knicker in a knot over Saudi women not beign able to drive. Well in Libya, women were actually making serious decisions and should really do some research.

And then theres Lloyd A. Same comments as last week. Come back in 6 months Lloyd and see if theres still good news coming out of Libya. I suspect there wont be for common folk; oil companies, private healthcare insurance companies, etc will be full to the rim with "good news" but the rest of Libya wont be.

But I could be surprised..maybe theres a group or a country with spine that can begin criminal proceedings agains the likes of Obama, sarkozy, Cameron et al.

Derrick Williams
Derrick Williams6 years ago

You guys are so convinced that Gaddafi was a bad guy.... Don't you realize its the same scenario as with Saddam Houssein. Ugh. Gaddafi falls = we're in for a surprise.