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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Besieged Bani Walid residents told to flee - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Besieged Bani Walid residents told to flee - Africa - Al Jazeera English

بسم الله الر حمن الر حيم

Libyan rebels battling the remnants of Muammar Gaddafi's forces in his remaining stronghold of Bani Walid have given residents there two days to leave before a threatened assault.

The warning came on Tuesday amid fears for the fate of civilians trapped in the last redoubts of Gaddafi, dislodged from power and now on the run after 42 years as leader of the oil-rich nation.

"I think only 10 per cent of the people are Gaddafi supporters. They are fanatics. And the rest are waiting to be liberated. We have given them two more days to leave the city," Abumuslim Abdu, a fighter with the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC), told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday.

Forces of the NTC that overran the capital, Tripoli, on August 23 have met unexpectedly stiff resistance in five days of fighting for the town of Bani Walid 180km southeast of Tripoli.

The town - along with Gaddafi's home city of Sirte on the Mediterranean coast and Sabha in the remote southern desert - counts among the last strongholds of old regime forces.

The resistance has impeded NTC efforts to normalise life in Libya.

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