Monday, September 5, 2011

Libyan rebels converge on Gadhafi stronghold of Bani Walid

Rebel reinforcements arrived outside one of Moammar Gadhafi's last strongholds in Libya on Monday, even as the forces arrayed against the toppled dictator gave the town a chance to surrender and avoid a fight.

Thousands of anti-Gadhafi fighters have converged on Bani Walid, a desert town some 140 kilometres southeast of Tripoli. Gadhafi has been on the run since losing his capital last month.

Anti-Gadhafi forces control most of Libya and are setting up a new government. They can't declare total victory, however, until Gadhafi is caught and areas like Bani Walid are subdued, so they have shown they are willing to be patient, perhaps hoping to avoid a bitter inter-clan fight that could create lasting divisions.

The rebels have extended to Saturday a deadline for the surrender of Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte and other loyalist areas, but some have warned they could attack Bani Walid sooner because many prominent former regime officials were believed to be inside. more