Libya’s rebels would rather kill opponents than let them go

There are no signed migration agreements between Libya and Zimbabwe by Jonathan Solomon, BBC News, Tripoli Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan rebels would rather kill regime opponents than allow them to leave the war-torn country. It…

Libya's rebels would rather kill opponents than let them go

There are no signed migration agreements between Libya and Zimbabwe

by Jonathan Solomon, BBC News, Tripoli

Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan rebels would rather kill regime opponents than allow them to leave the war-torn country. It is a tactic being used by many rebel groups across the continent’s southern regions, and it is backfiring badly. ‘Influential’ Tensions are running high on the border between Zimbabwe and its neighbours Malawi and Zambia, where sections of the law do not permit the exit of people from one country to another for economic reasons. Mr Gaddafi is the largest recipient of aid from the West Muhammad Sarmadi, deputy leader of Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council, told the BBC that he considered fleeing to Zimbabwe a legitimate option. Our cause is very clear and we are good Muslims

Muhammad Sarmadi “If you tell me that I can come to my homeland and I can live, I am good, I am very good,” he said. “But on my return I will do jihad [holy war], so either we kill them now or we are the losers.” “You see in our country it’s war-torn, it’s not a place to live. … You will never live in this country with all its chaos. In 15 years in America I will understand how to build a country.” Mr Sarmadi visited Malawi in February as a guest of President Bingu wa Mutharika. With the help of Zambia’s president, Michael Sata, he negotiated the release of protesters who had been detained in Malawi for trying to reach Zimbabwe to join the Libyan uprising. ‘Vulnerable’ Libyans have taken the opportunity to move freely across southern Africa – according to reports, close to 20,000 have crossed the borders into Mozambique and South Africa. Yet the plan appears to have gone wrong, with some Libyan rebels accusing their political opponents of trying to exploit the situation to their own ends. The presence of the feared republican guard in Zaire made hundreds of thousands of people flee into the neighbouring countries Many Libyans, however, share Mr Sarmadi’s disgust at being unable to travel freely. “Our cause is very clear,” Ibrahim al-Hashimy, a member of the now-deleted Libya’s National Council, told the BBC. “In this mission we are good Muslims and we will support our brothers.” “For us this is not a policy where we will tolerate the so-called rebels controlling [the country].” The town of Bani Walid in Libya’s east was the scene of the most recent and deadly stand-off, and appeared to be a port of entry for many Libyans who were forced to flee their country. Wounds The BBC has heard of many people who are having difficulty crossing the border, but are leaving in the expectation of returning. Yet many say they fear being arrested by people-smugglers. They say they have been subjected to interrogation, and have also told of seeing other refugees assaulted. Others have told of the shame and shame of having to get into a pickup truck with a wounded person. At night, people say they are being detained, beaten and abused. A graphic video of the ongoing detention of civilians in Bani Walid has led many people in Malawi and neighbouring Zimbabwe to question the governing movements of those countries. Mr Sarmadi is particularly angered by Malawi’s decision to set up a control point for Libyan migrants in the town of Mzuzu. In separate comments he also described the armed forces in Malawi as “influential” and said he would not have entered Malawi had he known it was “infested by this military intelligence”. Muammar Gaddafi has been in power in Libya for 40 years

President Gbenga offered assurances that all Rwandans who have entered his country legally would be allowed to remain, and that he would not extradite anyone wanted by the International Criminal Court. “We believe that this will be useful to we the people of Libyana,” he said. Many Libyans hoping to return to the West have also been caught in the crossfire between the violent internecine conflict in Libya. One of the most influential of those who has managed to get out is Abdoul Harouna, a 54-year-old economist and member of the opposition who has spent the past four months trying to reach Zambia from Libya. Instead he spent more than two days in the southern border town of Tindaba before seeing his cousin, a second cousin and their daughter being taken from the border to one of Muammar Gaddafi’s military bases. The bodies of two of the men were found dumped on the border.

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