Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Hidden Gadaffi vows 'no surrender'

In a fiery broadcast from hiding, Muammar Gaddafi has warned that loyalist tribes in his main strongholds were armed and preparing for battle, a show of defiance hours after rebels extended a deadline for the surrender of the fugitive leader's hometown.

The rebels, who have been moving troops toward remaining Gaddafi bastions across Libya, had shifted the deadline for the town of Sirte in hopes of avoiding the bloodshed that met their attack on Tripoli.

"We want to save our fighters and not lose a single one in battles with Gaddafi's forces," said Mohammed al-Rajali, a spokesman for the rebel leadership in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The rebels say the advance on Sirte is going well, and that their forces have already captured one nearby city. They also say they are closing in on Gaddafi, who came to power 42 years ago Thursday in a military coup that toppled King Idris.

The rebels have been hunting for Gaddafi since he was forced into hiding after they swept into Tripoli on August 20 and gained control of most of the capital after days of fierce fighting.

"We won't surrender again; we are not women. We will keep fighting," Gaddafi said in a blustery tone in the audio statement, broadcast by Syrian-based Al-Rai TV. His voice was recognisable, and Al-Rai has previously broadcast statements by Gaddafi and his sons.

Gaddafi said the tribes in Sirte and Bani Walid are armed and "there is no way they will submit". He called for continued resistance, warning "the battle will be long and let Libya burn".

In a second late-night audio also broadcast on the Syrian channel, Gaddafi spoke in more measured tones and called for a long insurgency.

"We will fight them everywhere," he said. "We will burn the ground under their feet. ... Get ready to fight the occupation." He said the Nato alliance is trying to occupy Libya and steal its oil.

The rebels, who have effectively ended Gaddafi's rule, dismiss his threats as empty rhetoric.


From Belfast Telegraph