Libya Alhurra Updates

Posts tagged Benghazi

Jun 26

Libyan swap of detainees may signal broader talks

June 24, 2011 - Reuters:

BENGHAZI, Libya, June 24 (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has released dozens of rebel supporters and allowed them to sail back to Benghazi on Friday in a move that could mark the beginning of broader talks between the adversaries.

In a transfer facilitated by the Red Cross, a ship carrying about 50 men detained by Gaddafi forces in western Libya docked in Benghazi’s harbour alongside hundreds of other refugees.

"These are mainly civilians…Among them there are 51 people who were detained in Tripoli but were released by the government there so we brought them back," said Dibeh Fakhr, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Benghazi.

Pointing at the vessel, festooned with opposition flags and a Red Cross banner, she said a total of several hundred people, including 66 former detainees, were scheduled to come back from Tripoli in two rotations.

In the other direction, 110 Tripoli residents trapped in the east would be allowed to sail to the capital, she said.

Rebel sources said the swap underlined Gaddafi’s weakness and willingness to discuss ways out of a war in the oil-rich North African nation that has been deadlocked since February.

(Read More)


May 24

Libya: Rebels ‘to open office in US’

May 23, 2011 - BBC News:

US Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman has said Libya’s rebels have accepted an invitation to open a representative office in Washington.

Mr Feltman is the most senior US diplomat to visit the rebels in their de facto capital Benghazi.

The US has insisted that Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi step down, but has not given the rebels full recognition.

The visit came as Nato planes launched a series of air attacks on Libya’s capital, Tripoli, the heaviest so far.

Libyan officials say three people were killed and dozens injured in an attack on the barracks of the popular guard.

Nato says it bombed a vehicle depot next to Col Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound which had been used by his forces in attacks on civilians. However, the Libyan government described it as a reserve military base and said the casualties were civilians.

On Monday, France announced it and the UK would also deploy attack helicopters to escalate strike power.

Nato is enforcing a UN resolution to protect Libyan civilians, following the uprising against Col Gaddafi’s rule.

'Assets release'

Mr Feltman said the US was not negotiating with Col Gaddafi, and that the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) was the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

(Read More)

May 4

Apr 24

Libya Alhurra livestream, April 24, 2:45 pm local time



Live update from Libya Alhurra, recorded live on April 24, 14:45 local time.

Key points:

Western Mountains:

  • Yefren under Gaddafi troops attack, situation critical, worried about families gathered in the hotel by them.
  • Communications are bad since yesterday in the Western mountains, will try to be live later tonight.


Misrata:

  • Source reports an hour ago of heavy shelling with Grad rockets since last night, with many dead. Freedom fighters cannot locate the source of the shelling, as Gaddafi’s forces keep bombing and hiding to avoid strikes.
  • There are still snipers in Misrata central hospital and fighting going on.
  • 10 minutes ago the bombing had stopped but could resume any time.


Tripoli:

  • Lots of unrest yesterday, heavy gun fights as well as NATO strikes. No one in Tripoli able to speak out or talk on the phone.
  • Freedom fighters are attacking Gaddafi’s patrols and locations.


Benghazi:

  • Rumors Gaddafi is recruiting troops in civilian clothes in Egypt, to bring unrest in Benghazi, remain unconfirmed.


Zawiya:

  • Freedom fighters haven’t given up and are striking again, will continue to do so.


More updates from Misrata and the Western Mountains will be broadcasted live tonight.


Apr 23

Libya Alhurra livestream, April 23

Live report from Libya Alhurra, April 23, discussing current news from Libya:

Benghazi:

  • Thousands of people have attended the friday prayer, speech about the problems of weapons in Benghazi, asking people to give them over or stop selling them.
  • Yesterday, a small service was held for Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, shortly before midnight. A second ceremony occured this morning, as well as for the Ukrainian doctor who died in Misrata. 
  • John McCain stressed the importance of recognizing the National Transitory Council as sole legitimate government of Libya, pushing for the release of frozen assets and arming the freedom fighters.

Tobruk:

  • 8 people were killed South of Tobruk, attacked by a fleet of 9 companies, at a booster station owned by the Arabian Gulf Oil Company (Agoco), at approximately 11am on April 22.
  • A new team of guards have been sent to this station to secure it.

Apr 21

Live Broadcast LIVE NOW

UPDATE: The live broadcast has now concluded. the interview is replaying the telephone interview with a media group in Jadu with updates on the Zefren, Zintan, Nalut, and the Nafousa Mountain region.

The Libya Al Hurra channel IS NOW Broadcasting LIVE

Previous updates have included Live Telephone Interviews with Freedom Group members in Misrata. We are hoping for updates from the Nafousa Mountains area today, such as Zefren or Zintan

Please join us, and remember: if live translations are required, it is very helpful to maintain chat silence for the translator and mods. the translations will be underlined. thank you.


Apr 18

Second round of Refugees Evacuated from Misrata

Please see the important UPDATE below.

We have been following the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s important missions to deliver humanitarian aid to Misrata closely. See the IOM tag for previous reports.

CJ Chivers and Bryan Denton of the New York Times travelled to Misrata with the chartered vessel Ionian Spirit on it’s first mission to the besieged city, and stayed for several days to provided insight and documentation of the horrors endured by the residents and refugees stranded there.

They report now from aboard the ship as it approaches the port of Benghazi with nearly  1,000 refugees, mostly Ghanian, along with some wounded Libyans…

“Thank God for this ship,” said Mohamed Youssif, whose right leg was amputated on Sunday after he was struck by shrapnel while riding in a pickup truck near Tripoli Street, one of Misurata’s fronts.

In other cabins were more victims — a nine-year-old boy struck with shrapnel in the teeth, and an anti-Qaddafi sniper shot through his mouth, a bald and bearded man peppered with shrapnel holes.

Refugees from the Phillipines tell of their friends, missing since mid-March.

“They were at their homes, and the Qaddafi military came and we haven’t seen them since,” said Lilian Rosales, 53, a nurse from Mindanao. “We could not go home to look for them because of the snipers.”

Previous IOM reports indicated the Ionian Spirit was only chartered for 2 trips, unless they receive more donations or funding. There appears to be another hurdle for the mission…

The prospects for further evacuations were unclear. Mr. Haslam said the crew of the Ionian Spirit, worried that Misurata was too dangerous, was threatening not to return to the port for another evacuation. “They think they are pushing their luck with a third trip,” he said.

“I am sure I do not want to go back,” said a crew member on the vessel. The crew member, who asked not to be identified, said that the crew had not been told they would travel to a war zone, and that many of the ship’s company remained on the vessel only because they were owed back pay.

Read More…

UPDATE: CJ Chivers reports:

@bdentonphoto and i are back in benghazi. wounded from IOM ship have been offloaded and moved to hospital. update soon on NYT site.

The IOM also has new details regarding the rescue mission:

The group of 971 migrants, 650 of them Ghanaians but also including various other migrant nationalities including Filipinos and Ukrainians and comprising also women and children, left Misrata on an IOM-chartered boat in the early hours of the morning, today, 18 April.

Among the rescued group are 100 Libyans, 23 of whom are war casualties, including a child shot in the face and an amputee.

We wanted to be able to take more people out but it was not possible. Although the exchange of fire subsided while we were boarding with an eerie silence at one point, we had a very limited time to get the migrants and Libyans on board the ship and then leave,” says Jeremy Haslam, who is leading the IOM rescue operations on the boat.

In the coming days, those migrants able to travel will be taken by IOM by road to the Libyan-Egyptian border at Salum from where they will be assisted to return to their home countries.

However, IOM is deeply distressed at the fate of at least 4,000 migrants who still remain at the port in Misrata, awaiting evacuation assistance. Among them are more than 3,000 Nigeriens, hundreds of Sudanese, Chadians and migrants from other nationalities, including women and children.

With the situation in the port city worsening by the hour, it is becoming increasingly difficult for IOM to carry out further rescue missions.

We have a very, very small window to get everyone out. We do not have the luxury of having days, but hours. Instead of carrying out several further missions that will go into next week, what we now need is to have a ship that can accommodate at least 4,000 people and do one last mission that can take everyone out at the same time immediately,” says IOM’s Regional Representative for the Middle East, Pasquale Lupoli.

"We urgently need donors and governments to put such a ship and funds at our disposal to carry out a mission on this scale. Every hour counts and the migrants still in Misrata cannot survive much longer like this.”

Read More…


Saved from Gaddafi’s torturers

The Guardian has the story of a volunteer from Benghazi who joined a small convoy of food trucks and ambulances to help deliver food and aid to Ras Lanuf a month ago only to find the city had fallen under control of loyalists…

The volunteers were picked up at the hospital, beaten and thrown into a lorry containing the bodies of dead and wounded rebels. “When the lorry was driving, if they saw a body on the road the soldiers went and kicked it in the face to make sure it was dead, and then they drove the lorry over it. This happened three times,” he said.

The prisoners were taken to Sirte and placed in an underground cell with 28 others.

"We felt we could relax and sleep because they removed the ties on our hands and the blindfolds. But then every 10 minutes they opened the door and when they find anyone asleep they kicked him in his face. They told us we are al-Qaida and terrorists and we want to destroy the country," he said.

"They removed each person from the room in turn and they beat him and kicked him. They broke fingers and toes. They destroyed the faces. They came back completely covered in blood," he said. "I saw them kick a wounded rebel soldier until he bled to death. I saw a man who was crawling around on all fours as they kicked and beat him, and still he kept crawling. There wasn’t a point of his body that wasn’t beaten."

Read more about the treatment of prisoners and how this man escaped on a “peace bus” to tell his story, eventually kicking out the driver, and crossing the front lines as the opposition feared a “trojan horse” of regime fighters.

*warning* portions of the article contain graphic descriptions.


Free Libya taking shape.

Benghazi and other cities in Free Libya are taking advantage of grassroots-level organizing to revive civil society…

Algallal, 42, is part of the patchwork for a new civil society taking shape in Benghazi. While he uses his contacts to secure food and medicine supplies for the front lines, students clean the streets, and teachers and longshoremen organize themselves in tents outside the old courthouse.

The rebels are drawing on the very system of grassroots bodies that Qaddafi outlined in his Green Book, a 1975 manifesto of his revolutionary philosophy. This time, instead of being a means to suppress political parties and keep tabs on local residents, the groups are delegating responsibility and solidifying their grip.

Qaddafi’s efforts to mobilize citizens to govern themselves, while confined to rhetoric under his rule, has become a reality as the society mobilizes itself against him,” said Ann Marlowe, a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Read More…

To aid in the transition to a democratic state. The Transistional National Council has also drafted a temporary constitution.

BENGHAZI, Libya—Rebels here have drafted a constitution that calls for full equality regardless of gender, race or religion, part of their effort to convince the world they are committed to democracy and deserve international support.

The constitution’s preamble says its aim is a Libyan society based on “freedom, justice, and equality, and a democratic government based on political pluralism, peaceful transition of authority, and an independent judiciary.” The document also enshrines freedom of speech, media and peaceful assembly.

A senior rebel official said the document won’t be officially adopted until eastern Libya is reunited with the west after Col. Gadhafi’s ouster. At that point it will only serve as a temporary constitution until a more expansive formal document is drawn up with broader popular input.

Read More…


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