Region | Libya

Rebel council calls on UN to hit mercenary bases

Revolutionaries want sanctions on Algeria

  • By Duraid Al Baik, Associate Editor
  • Published: 00:00 March 4, 2011
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • Captured mercenaries from Mali and Niger display their passports in the western city of Zintan on Monday.

Dubai: The National Transitional Council (NTC) in Benghazi yesterday called on the United Nations to hit bases of Muammar Gaddafi's mercenaries in Niger, Kenya and Mali and impose sanctions on the Algerian government which is helping the regime in Tripoli.

Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, spokesman for the NTC, said the council has enough evidence to prove the Algerian government has been providing support for Gaddafi since the first week of the revolution.

"We know for sure that the Algerian regime does not like Muammar Gaddafi, but at the same time it also does not like to see the revolution succeeding in Libya and spreading to its neighbours," Ghoga told Gulf News.

The Algerian government refused to comment on Ghoga's accusations.

Gaddafi has recruited about 800 Tuareg separatist fighters from Niger, Mali, Algeria and Burkina Faso to quash the popular uprising against his regime, security sources said yesterday.

"Eight hundred Tuareg originating from Mali, Algeria and Burkina Faso have been recruited by Libya to fight on Gaddafi's side," a Malian security source told AFP.

He said no one should regard this call as an invitation for foreign forces to become involved in any kind of presence in Libya.

"Airstrikes on mercenary bases are not direct military involvement in Libya's civil struggle against Gaddafi. They are a way to support Libyan civilians and to give some balance between the force of Gaddafi and Gaddafi's power.

Ghoga thanked the UN and the Security Council for their support for the revolution against Gaddafi and said revolutionaries want tangible support from the international community to achieve their goal.

Ghoga said the issue of mercenaries is serious and the NTC is ready to offer the international community plenty of evidence.

"Yesterday, 90 mercenaries were arrested by the revolutionaries in Zantan in the remote west of the country. Gaddafi send 40 light trucks loaded with what the government called people's militia to control Zantan. The forces were met with stiff resistance and were forced to withdraw. Ninety mercenaries were arrested with their 20 trucks," Ghoga said.

Sources from the Military Council in Benghazi told Gulf News that the revolutionaries have no plan to march to Tripoli.

"The move is quite dangerous as Gaddafi's air force is still intact and given the distance of 1,000 km the forces have to cover to reach the capital from Benghazi," Nasser Al Manie told Gulf News.

Residents of Tripoli said pro-Gaddafi militia had been busy the past four days cleansing the centre of the city of suspected elements who are not trustworthy from the regime's point of view.

Hundreds of people are missing. Forces supporting Gaddafi went to their homes and arrested residents suspected of having participated in protests against Gaddafi.

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