Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Libya army has 'no control in Bani Walid'

30 October 2012, 10:34

Tripoli - Libya's defence minister said on Monday that the army has no control over Bani Walid, one of the last bastions of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, and that armed groups there prevent families from returning home.

"The chief of staff has no control over the town and therefore armed men are able to prevent families from coming back," Osama al-Jueili told journalists in Tripoli, adding that "gunmen" hold a checkpoint leading to the town.

Fighting in Bani Walid this month displaced tens of thousands of people, Jueili noted, including 30 000 who fled to the nearby town of Tarhuna and 10 000 who went to the capital.

"The town is completely empty except for a small number of people who are living in tragic conditions; there is no activity; the impact of shelling is visible everywhere," the minister said.

Jueili had previously made no public statements on the situation in Bani Walid.

His bleak assessment came five days after the army chief-of-staff officially announced the end of all military operations in Bani Walid, which was branded by the authorities as a hideout for criminals and former regime loyalists.

Bani Walid, 185km southeast of Tripoli, was one of the last towns to fall to Nato-backed rebels in the 2011 conflict that toppled and killed Gaddafi.

Tribal tensions

October's scaled-up offensive against the oasis came in response to the death of Omran Shaaban, 22, a former rebel from the city of Misrata who was credited with capturing Gaddafi and later kidnapped in Bani Walid.

The operation was sanctioned by the new authorities and carried out by former rebel brigades linked to the army, including fighters from Misrata, which has a long history of rivalry with Bani Walid.

Clashes between pro-government forces and Bani Walid fighters this month killed dozens of people and wounded hundreds, exacerbating tribal tensions and underscoring the difficulties of achieving national reconciliation.

Tribal elders and commanders in the town had repeatedly called into question the neutrality of the army, which is still being formed, and accused "lawless Misrata militias" of seeking to destroy Bani Walid.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...