Protesters raise the old Libyan flag during a demonstration against the government of Muammar Gaddafi in the city of Tobruk yesterday. Heavy gunfire broke out in Tripoli as forces loyal to Gaddafi tightened their grip on the Libyan capital. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: One hour after Muammar Gaddafi broadcast his speech from his Al Azizyah Palace Camp in Tripoli threatening Benghazi residents of tough consequences if they did not end their revolt against his regime, people across eastern Libya started off night-long celebrations after declaring that their cities had been liberated from the rule of Gaddafi.

Fireworks lit the skies of Benghazi while people chanted and sang till the early hours of Tuesday morning — the 8th day of the revolution.

"The tone of the speech and the way Gaddafi was asking his supporters to retaliate against revolutionaries conveyed beyond doubt that the man had lost everything. His supporters sneaked to Misurata, 190 km to the east of the capital, to kill and finish off the revolt but could not do anything as the army decided to hand- over arms and ammunition to the revolutionaries in the city," Fateh Al Talhouni, member of the revolutionary committee in Misurata told Gulf News.

In the morning, the forces of Al Saeedi Gaddafi, the embattled leader's son and head of a special forces battalion, started encircling the city of Surt, half way between Benghazi and Tripoli on the sea.

Western town besieged

"Tanks and manned armoured vehicles have cut the coastal and the inside road linking east with the west. Surt has a special value to Gaddafi and is the last stronghold of the man since his tribe lives in the city," Al Talhouni said.

He added that Lt General Al Mahdi Al Arabi, Vice-General of Staff of the Libyan Army, had ordered his forces in Misurata to support the revolutionaries after he chased Gaddafi's supporters out of the city. Lt General Al Arabi said he is putting himself and his soldiers at the command of the youthful revolutionaries in Misurata.

"Gaddafi, who was begging his supporters to go out of their homes and chase the revolutionaries whom he described as rats, has eventually lost the battle. His move to protect Surt is an indication that he will be fighting his last battle amongst his tribe and family," Al Talhouni said.

Lawyer Mustafa Al Manie, a member of the management committee of Benghazi, said the committee will elect an executive chief to speak and act on behalf of revolutionaries in the city.

Supply lines in focus

Al Manie said Benghazi, home to more than 1 million people, needed to be managed effectively. "Cleaning and security in the city is being looked after by newly-formed people committees. We have no problems with the logistics, but we need medicines which we are planning to get from the neighbouring Egyptian market.

The port is working properly and the ad-hoc committee in the city is conducting talks with European suppliers to make sure that food and other life necessities will not be disrupted during the revolution and afterwards.

Meanwhile, Sulaiman Abdul Kadir, the Geneva-based General Controller of the Muslim Brotherhood of Libya and head of the People's Committee to Indict Libyan Officials Involved in Crimes Against Humanity told Gulf News that the crimes of 10 senior officials have been documented and will be presented to the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court.

The list includes Muammar Gaddafi, his sons Saif Al Islam, Mutasim, Al Saeedi, Hanibaal and Khamis in addition to the family cousin and close aide Ahmad Gaddaf Al Dam who executed dirty operations and a group known as the ‘men of the tent' — Gaddafi's lieutenants Saeed Rashwan, Abdullah Al Sanussi, and Mousa Kousa.

Abdul Kadir said the dossier of the case includes audio, video and official documents proving the involvement of the ten men in crimes against innocent people of Libya.

"Pictures, speeches and intercepted telephone calls made by the ten men in the current February 17th revolution is being included. The file will be submitted to international organisations in few days and an international order of indictment will be ready soon afterward," he said.