giriyaadnews.com The bodies of up to 150 Libyan civilians were found yesterday near Tripoli after allegedly being massacred by pro-Gaddafi forces. Journalists said they counted as many as 53 executed bodies in a burnt-out farm warehouse near the Khamis military base where the murders are thought to have taken place last Tuesday and Wednesday.
The bodies of two soldiers were found with their hands tied behind their backs. Locals believe they refused to fire on the people being held inside the warehouse, and were then murdered.
Elsewhere, rebels massing outside Gaddafi’s last bastion of power, his home town of Sirte, say they hope they can take it with little bloodshed.
Many believe the deposed leader may be hiding with his family in a bunker in the town.
Rebel leaders said Sirte residents were being ‘virtually held hostage’ by troops ‘brainwashed’ by Gaddafi over the years, but wanted to join the revolution.
‘They know it is all over for Gaddafi,’ said Ahmed Jebril, special adviser to Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the head of Libya’s government-in-waiting, the National Transitional Council.
‘We hope that our fighters will once again drive into a Gaddafi stronghold and be greeted warmly by its people.
‘This happened in Tripoli where we feared much blood. We pray it can happen in Sirte too.’
A more sinister worry for the NTC is Gaddafi’s huge weapons store in the desert city of Waddan, 125 miles south of Sirte. The site is remote and guarded by hardcore Gaddafi loyalists.
‘Our fighters are moving there now,’ said Mr Jebril. ‘There are fears of a chemical stockpile by Gaddafi. We cannot be sure if that is true.’
However, some have said that Gaddafi has fled Libya to Zimbabwe on a jet provided by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, it was claimed today, as rebels began the march on his home town.
President Mugabe’s political opponents claim their spies saw Gaddafi arrive in the country on a Zimbabwe Air Force jet in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
They say the Libyan dictator was taken to a mansion in Harare’s Gunninghill suburb, where agents from his all-female bodyguard were apparently seen patrolling the grounds.
‘There’s no doubt that Gaddafi is here as a ‘unique guest’ of Mugabe,’ a spokesman for Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change told the Sun.
If he has left Libya, Gaddafi could have fled from an airbase in his home town of Sirte, which has been bombarded by Nato warplanes in recent days.
The colonel’s bunker in the coastal town was blitzed by cruise missiles fired by British Tornado jets on a long-range sortie last night.
The claims come as:
- Rebel commanders claimed victory in a vital border town and announced they are to merge their fighters in Tripoli under one command;
- Leaders of the National Transitional Council (NTC) pressed foreign governments to release Libyan funds frozen overseas;
- The British Government pledged to fund humanitarian invervention by the Red Cross;
- United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked for international organisations’ help in ensuring an urgent end to fighting and restoration of order in Libya.
Earlier Libyan rebels claimed victory in Ras Jdir, raising their flag at the border post with Tunisia after bloody clashes with regime loyalists.
Fled? Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his female bodyguards, pictured left in a file photo, are said to have fled to Zimbabwe on the invitation of the country’s president, Robert Mugabe, right
There was no sign of a swift end to the civil war, which rebels have vowed will only end when Gaddafi is captured – dead or alive – but they claimed to be closing in on the strongman.
A detachment of rebel fighters was turning its attention to Sirte, Gaddafi’s birthplace, 300 miles east of Tripoli, where British warplanes have bombarded a bunker with cruise missiles.
Some believe that Gaddafi, if he is still in the country, may seek refuge among his tribesmen in the Mediterranean city, which is still holding out against the rebel advance.
Loyalist forces also still hold positions deep in the Sahara desert, days after rebels took much of the capital, looted Gaddafi’s compound and paraded their stolen souvenirs.
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