Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bani Walid civilians bombed with gas – RT source

Source: Russia Today

Pro-government militias intercept food, fuel and medicine and use grad rockets and gas weapons against Bani Walid, a man whose family remains in the town told RT. He claims the daily shelling of the town is Misrata militias’ attempt to eliminate it.

Several hundreds of Bani Walid natives marched to the seat of the national parliament in Tripoli on Sunday to protest the assault on their home town, which has been continuing for over two weeks. The protesters demanded a peaceful solution to “the tribal war that is happening in the town.” The demonstrators, however, failed to enter the parliament, being dispersed by guards firing rounds into the air.

Pro-government forces and militias besieged the hilltop town of Bani Walid following the death of former rebel Omran Shaban. Shaban is credited for capturing the country’s ex-leader, Muammar Gaddafi, in October 2011. The Warfalla tribe controlling Bani Walid has been accused of kidnapping and torturing the former rebel.

Libya’s government has been empowered by the congress to use force to arrest those suspected of killing Shaban. Since the rebel was a Misrata native, Misrata militias joined the assault on Bani Walid.

The joint forces have been shelling Bani Walid almost non-stop since early October. At least 26 people died and over 200 more were injured in Saturday clashes alone, according to AFP. Gunfire and sporadic blasts continued into Sunday, and an AFP photographer says he saw hundreds of people were fleeing the besieged town.

Bani Walid commanders accuse the pro-government troops and militias of “shelling the town with long-range weapons and even targeting the hospital.”

One of them, Commander Salem al-Waer, said ­“They are pushing Libya towards civil war. Libya will become a second Somalia. Why are they putting tribes against each other?”

Children killed or mutilated in shelling – reports from besieged city
Several graphic clips published on YouTube claim to show dreadful consequences of the recent shelling in Bani Walid.

Plumes of white and black smoke can be seen rising all over the town and sporadic gunfire can be heard in one of the videos dated Friday. Shells hit civilian buildings. Inside one such house there are patches of blood across what appears to be the living room, while the whole house is strewn with rubble and dust, gaping holes in the walls.

Another video, allegedly from Bani Walid, claims to show victims of shelling. A 13-year-old boy killed in a blast is among them, his arm torn away. The caption reads: “Killed Oct 19 by ‘Misrata gang’ bombing.” The camera shifts to another kid – his face and right arm severely burnt, allegedly in the same shelling, and his left foot missing.

A man, who is now in Italy, but whose family is currently in Bani Walid, confirmed to RT the authenticity of the footage and sent more evidence. One of the photos shows the body of a girl under 10 years old, who reportedly died on Saturday following a bombing by Misrata forces.

However, the information could not be independently verified.

‘Bani Walid shelled with grad rockets and gas weapons’

The man who emailed the materials to RT, said in a subsequent interview that the current situation in the besieged town is grave: there are shortages of food, fuel and medicine; the hospital cannot house all the injured and power only appears for a couple of hours a day.

“Misrata’s militias want to eliminate us,” the man said on condition of anonymity, citing safety fears. Below is the full script of his interview to RT: “I have got a call from my family. They tell me the situation in Bani Walid is horrible. There is an awful attack with all kind of shooting and bombing everywhere in the city. The civilian buildings are falling down. “The situation in Bani Walid hospital is really bad. We don’t have a lot of medicine; we don’t have enough places for wounded civilians. Right now the hospital is keeping wounded people outside."

“No family would leave Bani Walid. All the people in Bani Walid say the same words: ‘We’ll never go from our land.’

“There are no Gaddafi people [in the city]. Even a member of Libya’s National Transitional Council, after visiting Bani Walid, also said there were no Gaddafi people there"

“What is happening there is a battle between [Bani Walid’s people] and Misrata, which wants to eliminate Bani Walid from existence. They want to do to Bani Walid what they did in Tahoura."

“There is almost no electricity; it only comes for two-three hours a day. It is three weeks that no food has been able reach Bani Walid as militias that surround the town are blocking the roads. They intercept food, fuel and medicine. There is no food inside Bani Walid, not even milk for kids, no necessities."

“Two hundred of those militias died yesterday, and the bodies are still there. They even left their wounded people there and Bani Walid hospital is taking care of those wounded people."

“Militias went inside the city, but they only went a few kilometers before getting kicked out. They used machine guns inside; and from outside they used grad rockets and gas weapons.”

This photo was emailed to RT by a man whose family remains in Bani Walid.

The fax which RT received from one of the hospitals in Bani Walid

A video screen shot taken from YouTube, sent to RT by a man whose family is currently in besieged Bani Walid. The image is said to show a 13 year old boy who was killed in recent fighting. The footage could not be independently verified.

This photo was sent to RT by a man whose family remains in the besieged Bani Walid. The image could not be independently verified.

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