NTC Fighters Seek Takeover Of Remaining Gaddafi Strongholds
As the battle of a Gaddafi free Libya rages onward, the National Transitional Council (NTC)--the political body representing anti-Gaddafi forces--are met with a stalemate. The remanning Gaddafi loyalists in Bani Walid, Sirte and Sabha have resisted the NTC terms of surrender and are continuing to fight.
Sticking points in the negotiation included the demand by Gadhafi loyalists for blanket pardons, NTC fighters to enter their communities unarmed, and to refrain from searching houses, the NTC said.
Faced with sniper attacks from within Bani Walid borders, the NTC fighters were not yet able to take full control of the town Al Jeazeera reports.
From Al Jazeera:
Al Jazeera's David Poort, reporting from the outskirts of Bani Walid, said NTC fighters seeking to advance to the centre of the town, 150km south of the capital Tripoli, were coming under sniper fire from Gaddafi loyalists.
Abdullah Kenshil, the NTC's spokesman and chief negotiator, said anti-Gaddafi fighters were exchanging fire with gunmen positioned in houses in the town of Bani Walid and the hills that overlooked it. "They are inside the city. They are fighting with snipers ... They forced this on us and it was in self-defence."
It is unclear how many Gaddafi loyalist remain in the strongholds and there are conflicting reports as to the conditions of resistance. One unnamed official from the interim government told BBC negotiating has allowed for the Gaddafi loyalist to fortify. Another report from local commanders near Bani Walid says the Gaddafi loyalist are surrounded and will be forced to surrender in two or three days.
In Tripoli, Mustapha Abdel Jalil, head of the NTC, spoke to unify the people of Libya in an effort to rebuild the country.
From Al Jazeera:
"This is not the time for retribution. This is not the time for taking matters into your own hands. Many rights have been lost and many tragedies have occurred," he said. "We have to realise that Muammar Gaddafi is not done yet and we must direct all our means to liberate the rest of the cities."
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