Battle for Tripoli: Resistance lingers, Gaddafi still at large

The battle for Tripoli continues as the residue of Gaddafi loyalists in several southern and central areas provide resistance to Libyan rebels.

The battle for Tripoli continues as the residue of Gaddafi loyalists in several southern and central areas provide resistance to Libyan rebels who have ended a 42-year dictatorship.

In latest developments:

  • Rebels have control most of Tripoli but there are still reports of sporadic resistance by Gaddafi forces
  • There has been heavy fighting in Gaddafi's sprawling Bab-al-Aziziya compound
  • The National Transitional Council says it is beginning to move its base to Tripoli
  • The UN is to hold talks on freeing some of Libya's frozen assets to help with reconstruction
  • The journalists who were trapped in the Rixos hotel by regime guards have been freed

A new front line has emerged to the east of the international airport, a day after rebels seized Bab al-Aziziya, Muammar Gaddafi’s sprawling former powerbase.

Most of the buildings in the compound have been destroyed by fire and Nato air strikes.

The whereabouts of deposed Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's are still unknown but he has issued a message of defiance. In a radio broadcast, he said he had made a "tactical" retreat from his vast Bab al-Aziziya compound.

It is thought he retains some support in two other cities, Sirte on the coast and Sebha 650km south of the capital. From there he might be able to flee across the Sahara desert to countries such as Niger and Chad, or even Mali,

The rebel National Transitional Council will begin the business of rebuilding the battle-scarred country with a donor conference in Qatar and the dispatch of a team of officials from their stronghold Benghazi to Tripoli.

Meanwhile, France's President Sarkozy will host a conference next Thursday to discuss Libya's future. In addition to the countries that took part in the military campaign against Gaddafi, China, Russia, India and Brazil had also been invited.

At the UN, South Africa, one of Gaddafi’s few supporters, is holding up moves to free $US1.5 billion in Libyan assets frozen in US banks. So the US is going to the Security Council to bypass the need for consensus from the committee monitoring the sanctions.

Three dozen foreign journalists were allowed to leave the Rixos Hotel after being confined there by pro-Gaddafi soldiers for five days. The two gunmen guarding them still believed Gaddafi would win the battle but realised their cause was hopeless when most of the city had fallen into rebel hands.
 

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