Friday, April 15, 2011

With Tripoli's rebel underground'

They're going to catch me soon.' Libyan activist risks arrest to tell of guerrilla attacks and plans for suicide bombings

Harriet Sherwood in Tripoli
The Guardian
, Friday 15 April 2011

".....Our contact was a middle-aged opposition activist in the heart of Muammar Gaddafi's stronghold. Fear and danger are rife; the stakes are high. During the course of an hour-long conversation, he told us that activists in Tripoli, frustrated by the violent suppression of peaceful protests, were now resorting to guerilla tactics to try to bring down the regime. Even suicide bombings were being considered, he said. His claims cannot be verified or properly evaluated, but they echo accounts obtained by other journalists in Tripoli, and help piece together a picture of underground opposition in the regime-held west of the country....

Now, the contact said, they were turning to guerrilla actions. They have attacked checkpoints across the city, killing the pro-Gaddafi militia and stealing their guns. The shooting that crackles across the city after dark, which regime officials claim is celebratory gunfire, is the work of the underground rebels, he said. "They [the regime] are covering up ... Every night there are attacks. The boys [on the checkpoints] have got scared. They are only getting 40 dinars (£20) a night, and they are saying we don't want to do this dirty work any more." There have been fewer checkpoints since the attacks began, he claimed......

The rebels, he said, were planning attacks on petrol stations. Fifteen police stations in the capital have been burned down since the uprising began, he said. And the underground activists were preparing even bigger attacks. "People are ready for suicide bombings."....

He also claimed that Gaddafi, sooner or later, would face threats from within his inner circle. "People on his side are not with him 100%. They are waiting for one spark. We are waiting for one or two army commanders to turn against him. Then we've got him." It is, of course, impossible to be certain of the credibility of what we were told. Reporters are denied free movement and access in the regime-held west of the country. But contacts made by other journalists in Tripoli have elicited similar information. Reuters this week reported opposition activists in Tripoli as saying there have been several attacks on checkpoints and a police station in the past week. It quoted a Libyan rebel sympathiser living abroad but in daily contact with activists in the capital as saying: "There have been attacks by Tripoli people and a lot of people have been killed on the army side."...."

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