Monday, September 12, 2011

Libya: Forces stalled near Gadhafi stronghold amid reports of in-fighting

Libya's new leaders are moving to unite fractious, heavily armed bands of fighters under a single control, even as the forces struggled Monday to take control of Moammar Gadhafi's last bastions of support.

The announcement Sunday by the head of the National Transitional Council followed reports of in-fighting and arguments among bands of fighters stalled outside the town of Bani Walid after encountering stiff resistance during an assault.

Syrian television station Al Rai on Monday, meanwhile, said it would air a message from Gadhafi. The station ran a banner allegedly quoting the ousted Libyan leader as saying, "We cannot surrender Libya to imperialism once like the agents/spies want us to now. So we have no option but to kill until victory and to destroy this attempted overthrow."

Bani Walid, home to a powerful tribe loyal to Gadhafi, is one of three major towns still in the hands of those loyal to the ousted leader.

A large convoy of troops left the front after arguing with another group of fighters from Bani Walid, who insisted they alone take the lead in fighting to take the town, witnesses told CNN's Ben Wedeman. more