Sunday, March 13, 2011
Rebels in Libya also lose Brega; Gaddafi forces kill AJ-A journalist
Bombs on Brega. (Photo AFP/Getty)
It appears that the rebels in Libya are quickly lossing terrain. Muammar Gaddafi's troops seized the strategic Libyan oil town of Brega on Sunday forcing rebels to retreat under a heavy bombardment while world powers considered imposing a no-fly zone.
Losing Brega and its refinery further limits rebel access to fuel after the insurgents earlier on Sunday were pushed out completely of Ras Lanuf, another major oil terminal some 100 km to the west along the coast road where all of Libya's important towns are located. 'Brega has been cleansed of armed gangs," a Libyan government army source told state television.
Defeated rebel fighters were demoralized. ''There's no uprising anymore," said rebel Nabeel Tijouri, whose heavy-machinegun had been destroyed in the fighting. "The other day we were in Ras Lanuf, then Brega, the day after tomorrow they will be in Benghazi."
Brega is 220 km (137 miles) south of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi with the town of Ajdabiyah the only sizeable town standing in the way. From Ajdabiyah there are roads to either Benghazi or Tobruk, close to the border with Egypt.
Journalists Yet more reports are coming in about severe misteatement and even killing of joyurnalists by Gaddafi's forces. Al-Jazeera Arabic cameraman Ali Hassan Al Jaber, a Qatari national born in 1955, was killed after being ambushed near Benghazi. A colleague travelling with him was injured. Ali Hassan Al Jaber was hit by three shots and was wounded through the heart. Amnesty International has condemned the killing and warned of a campaign of attacks and harassment against journalists in Libya..
'It appears that the Al Jazeera team was brutally and deliberately targeted,' said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Director. A few days eralier three BBC staff were detained and torture (they underwent ock executions) by Colonel Gaddafi's forces. Amnesty said that it is 'essential that this killing and the other abuses against journalists are investigated as part of the UN Human Rights Council's investigation into the situation in Libya''and that 'those responsible for the killing of Ali Hassan Al Jaber must be held accountable'.
Also Ghaith Abdul Ahad, a journalist working with the British newspaper The Guardian, is still missing. He has not been heard from since 6 March. A Brazilian journalist travelling with him was released from detention in Tripoli on 10 March. It is believed Ghaith Abdul Ahad is in detention.