By Mohammed Abbas and Robert Birsel
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Loyal followers of Muammar Gaddafi are refusing to surrender to those who have forced him into hiding, raising the prospect of new fighting in Libya when an ultimatum expires after this week’s Eid holiday.
The new ruling council, keen to consolidate its grip and relieve hardship after six months of war, won a $1.55 billion cash injection when the UN Sanctions Committee released banknotes in Britain in frozen accounts once controlled by Gaddafi. The new leaders said Libya may start pumping oil again in days.
On the front lines of a pincer thrust toward Gaddafi’s coastal bastion of Sirte – one of several places, including Tripoli, where his enemies think he may have taken refuge – fighters for the interim ruling council paused, observing an effective ceasefire announced by their leaders until Saturday.
Nato warplanes have been bombing Gaddafi forces near Sirte, and the alliance has assured its Libyan allies that it will keep up its military drive from the air for an end to the conflict – something the council leadership says will only be secured once Gaddafi is found, “dead or alive”.
This article was posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 2:22 am