23/08/2011 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Philippa Thomas. The battle for


Tripoli intensifies. Opposition fighters storm into Colonel


Gaddafi's compound. Scenes of rebel jubilation as they control the


compound. They believe it is the end of decades of dictatorship.


the rebels they are there in his front door. They are there shouting


Allah is great. There is no sign of the Libyan leader and his sons, but


NATO says it is clear that Colonel Gaddafi will soon be history.


the Gaddafi regime this is the final chapter. The end is near. And


events are moving fast. But hours earlier one of Colonel


Gaddafi's sons, Saif al-Islam, appeared before cheering supporters,


saying his father was safe and Hello and welcome.


The battle for Tripoli rages on. There have been scenes of rejoicing


in the past few hours as opposition fighters have taken control of


Colonel Gaddafi's compound, his power base in the heart of the


capital, and destroyed much-hated symbols of Gaddafi's regime. We are


going to bring you right up to date now. My colleague, Lyse Doucet, has


reached Tripoli. Over to her. Welcome to the Libyan capital,


Tripoli. I'm deuce deuce duties. We are here on a day when after more


than six months of bloody battle across this country, the battle for


the capital, Tripoli, the prize, has taken a decisive turn. The


rebels have now overrun the Bab Al- Aziziya compound. It means the


Arabic, the Splendid Gate. The compound sprawls for miles across


this capital. It seems the compound was impregnable and yet the rebels


took it, with little resistance. It began earlier today when rebels in


pick-up trucks bristling with guns streamed into the capital. They


breached one of the walls and within a matter of time they were


inside. Ever since then, this capital has resonated to the sound


of celebrity fire. When we drove into the capital a short time ago,


there were celebrations all along the road. The battle may not be


over yet. Libyans say they can't truly celebrate until they know


where is Colonel Gaddafi, the man who has ruled this country 41 years.


Only a few more years to go before he would have reached 42 years.


Where are his sons, including Saif al-Islam? These are still questions


that have to be answered. Today was a decisive victory for the rebels.


My colleague, Rupert Wingfield- Hayes, now reports. GUNFIRE


This is the moment millions of Libyans have been waiting for


through six months of bitter fighting and 42 years of brutal


dictatorship. The Libyan leader's skpound has been smashed to pieces


by NATO bombing but the rebels found plenty to take their anger


out on. Earlier this afternoon they had swarmed around the compound


walls as NATO jets swept in and pounded it again from above. But


with his compound now in rebel hands, there is still no sign of


Colonel Gaddafi himself. We watched as the Brigade set out from western


Tripoli at lunch time. After yesterday's set-backs their spirits


are once again high. They believe the end is close. The rebel flag is


now flying over more and more neighbourhoods of Tripoli. Bit by


bit the rebels are taking control. So this is what we've been finding


as we've driven into the western part of Tripoli this morning. These


men have formed themselves into a local militia. They all come from


this neighbourhood. They know each other. They've armed themselves.


They are setting is up checkpoints to defend their neighbourhoods from


Gaddafi's militia. Last night they killed a Gaddafi gunman in this car.


Last Then he taunts Saif al-Islam to come to this neighbourhood.


here shoot a man. I swear to God we die soon. After months of fear


people are coming back out on to the streets here, including this


British woman out driving for the first time in weeks. And yet


there's been heavy fighting in the middle of the city. And I'm sure


there will be, because his hard- liners are there, who will die for


him. Everyone is in their houses waiting to come out. Really, we are


celebrating indoors. It is frustrating. It is bad news about


Saif al-Islam, but believe me the Libyan people are 90% with the


opposition. Even military officers have joined the rebellion,


disgusted at being ordered to attack civilians. How long do you


think it will take before he is defeated? Maybe two nights, maximum


two days. It has been a long, hard and bloody road for these rebels


over the last six months. They are now all desperate for this bloody


conflict to be over. It is too soon to say this war is


over. You will remember the ecstatic scenes in some parts of


Tripoli on Sunday night when rebels came into the capital declaring


victory. There were reports at the time that Saif al-Islam, Colonel


Gaddafi's son, widely regarded as his heir apparent, had been


arrested and would soon be handed over to the International Criminal


Court. My colleague Matthew Price was indeed surprised when he ran


into Saif al-Islam yesterday at the Rixos Hotel, not far from the Bab


Al-Aziziya, yesterday. In the dark of the Tripoli night,


Saif al-Islam emerged from the shadows, clearly not under rebel


arrest and here, he said, to dismiss the rumours. TRANSLATION:


NATO and the West has high- technology. They stopped TV


broadcasting and radio. They have launched electronic warfare, and


through media they have managed to smugle into the country gangs and


somebody tours. But the Libyan people, men and women, has stood


firm against them and managed to break the backbone of the rebels


and rats and gangs. GUNFIRE He took a foreign cameraman on a


tour of part of the city. They drove past checkpoints controlled


by Gaddafi loyalists, passed groups of people lining up to be given


weapons. It was a short drive, but covered a sizeable area around


Colonel Gaddafi's compound and the south-eastern part of the Tripoli.


Clearly these are in Government hands. It is our country. It is our


people. We live here and we die here. We are going to win, because


the people are with us. Saif al- Islam's convoy has just left here.


Away from our camera he told us that he - supporters of Colonel


Gaddafi coming in. He told us they had broken the backbone of the


rebels. We gave them a hard time so we are wing, he said. Asked about


his father, Colonel Gaddafi, is he safe and well and in Tripoli, he


said, "Yes, of course." Saif al- Islam was pumped full of adrenaline


and was smiling. It is clear loyalists are fighting back in


parts of Tripoli. The sudden appearance of Saif al-Islam said


just yesterday to have been captured by the rebls will only


embolden them further. -- rebels.


Parts of Tripoli exploded in celebration with the celebrity


gunfire. This area is now plunged into darkness. In other parts of


the city we can see the lights are still on. What are residents of


this city thinking now? You will know from our coverage over the


past months that our correspondents have seen the demonstrations in


support of this. What is the future for this truly divided city? James


Robbins supports. The battle for Tripoli remains intense. As rebels


try to push Gaddafi's forces into smaller and smaller pockets of the


capital. As long as the battle rages civilians are still at grave


risk. We've been hearing from a section of this front line, where


Karen Graham, a nurse from done Barton, is part of a nursing team


overwhelmed by casualties. It is From a variety of credible sources


it seems that large and expanding parts of the capital are in rebel


hands, although not necessarily entirely secure. These are some of


the areas where Gaddafi has lost control since last Sunday. But


tonight the big breakthrough for the rebels. They stormed gad


aftery's fortified compound close to the Rixos Hotel, where some


foreign journalists are based and where Saif al-Islam appeared last


night. You can see the outer wall now breached by the rebels, who


have overrun the entire area. In one corner a substantial military


installation hit by NATO missiles weeks ago. And at the centre the


area used for scores of Gaddafi rallies over the years, where


rebels have been pulling down Gaddafi's statues. The symbolism of


this compound is immense, so taking it has great significance. The


rebels also seem to have entered one of Tripoli's airports. This


footage can't be verified. It is a possible escape route for Colonel


Gaddafi, whose whereabouts are still unknown. NATO is clear the


tide against him has overwhelmingly turned. For the Gaddafi regime this


is the time chapter, the end is near and events are moving fast.


What's clear to everybody is that Gaddafi is history and the sooner


he realises it the better. battle for Tripoli is still not


over, which means the rebels cannot yet move their headquarters from


the eastern city of Benghazi and start rebuilding Libya on new-


foundations. We are getting reports that tonight


the National Transitional Council in Benghazi is even planning to


come to Tripoli as early as tomorrow to start setting up a new


administration. They've said that before. We'll have to see what the


city looks like tomorrow in the broad light of day. But certainly


the big question is, who will run Libya now, and how will it be run?


After decades of Colonel Gaddafi's green revolution, where he


basically did away with all the institutions of a normal


functioning state and ruled through his popular revolutionary committee.


Who are these rebel leaders and what new ideas will they bring to


this country? Paul Wood reports from the eastern city of Benghazi,


the stronghold of the rebels and their headquarters.


They are students, businessmen, teachers. Most holding a gun for


the first time. They rose up with no outside help. And they would


have been crushed but for NATO's help. Now the rebels stand on the


brink of victory. Already recognised by many as Libya's elect


mat Government. Are they united? The rebels National Transitional


Council is a mix of factions, with little more in common than dislike


of Colonel Gaddafi. It is an uneasy coalition, between the east and the


west of the country, Islamist and secular, former members of the


regime and long-standing exiles. That's going to be a potpourri of


different ideas and ideologies. If they all work within a constitution


everyone is free to have their own thoughts and say what they think.


So will the rebels succeed? First they need to remove Gaddafi and


their credibility was badly dented when his son, Saif al-Islam,


appeared in Tripoli. The rebels had said he was in custody. But even if


Saif al-Islam and his father are sent to The Hague a new Government


will need many of those who fought for them. We've learned experience


from the eastern side in Benghazi, where the police and the security


people left their jobs and we had a problem to bring them back. No, in


Tripoli we will not do that. They are a measured part of rebuilding


the security infrastructure. rebel political leadership have


said there can be no revenge killings of Gaddafi loyalists. They


would risk losing the support of NATO countries who had got them


this far, and undermine the legitimacy of the new Government.


So no single, forceful and charismatic political personality


has emerged, somebody who can perhaps heal the divisions. But


after more than four decades of rule by Colonel Gaddafi, Libyans


may feel another strongman is exactly what they don't want.


The rebels insist the changeover of power will happen within the rule


of law. There can be no blood bath in Tripoli. The character of the


Libyan revolution will be tested and revealed in the coming days.


Paul Wood joins us from Benghazi. We are hearing reports here that


the National Transitional Council could try to come here as early as


That was always the original plan. The intention is that symbolically,


they want the country to beat United in the bold capital. They


always underlined the fact that they are making temporary camp in


Benghazi, but want to get to Tripoli as quickly as possible.


When we say the council will be coming, who does that mean?


head of the council is out of Libya at the moment. They have been


preparing for this moment for a long time. They have been talking


to experts from countries like Britain. When they have achieved


victory, I think the immediate task will be to stop those revenge


killings. That is such a priority for the head of the National


Transitional Council that he has threatened to resign if his


military commanders do not followed through with that. They have a


special unit, which is moving in with the specific task of securing


a infrastructures and government buildings, making sure Tripoli does


not undergo the same disorder that Baghdad had in 2003. That will


undermine the legitimacy of any new government. I imagine there will be


much more cautious end up their reporting. There were embarrassing


reports that they had captured Saif Al-Islam, for example. I put that


to a spokesman, and he said the credibility of the National


Transitional Council had been dented. They all felt very bad


about it. The explanation is torturers: There were agents


wearing rebel uniforms, and they have given out misinformation on


behalf of the loyalists. That is the explanation they are sticking


with today. It does not bear sceptical inquiry, and they


realised this has been a bad blow to their credibility. What is their


policy when it comes to what to do about Colonel Gaddafi ones we know


where he is? -- once we know. They also talked about putting these


senior people on trial, and some are indicted by the International


Criminal Court. The message from the leadership is that whatever is


done it must be within the rule of law and with respect for the Libyan


constitution. They do not want to see the streets running a red with


blood, they do not want to start a new civil war. It is a rather more


difficult question about exactly what will happen to him. Some rebel


spokesman for said they will co- operate with the Hague, others have


said no, he should be tried in the Libyan court. This is an issue to


be decided by a new government. They are adamant it will be a trial


and not an execution, but where that trout takes place still


remains to be seen. -- that trial. Benghazi has been the headquarters


for the National Transitional Council. That is how it all looks


here and in this hour. -- here in this hour. We have seen months of


conflict, at months of key cities going back and forth. Having


travelled through southern and Libya, bet are areas where there is


fighting between being rebels and Colonel Gaddafi loyalists. Other


parts of the roads were taking part in negotiations. But tonight, there


is a very loud celebration. They have taken one of the last as


strong not in the capital of Colonel Gaddafi. But no confirmed


reports of the colonel about -- the whereabouts of Colonel Gaddafi and


his son. Some breaking news now: The east


coast of the US has been hit by an earthquake. We understand it was


centred in the state of Virginia. It shook much of Washington DC.


Part of the Pentagon, White House and buildings were evacuated. We


will bring you more on that as we get it.


A for now, we will continue with our coverage of Libya.


You commanded a NATO brigade in Bosnia. Your analysis, things are


unfolding as they speak. But what is the state of play for the rebels


in Libya? They are attempting to consolidate their control in


Tripoli itself. They are doing quite a bit of mopping up as well


with regard to Gaddafi's compound. Although they have captured the


surface of the compound, we cannot know whether they have cleared all


the tunnels and buildings. I suspect, also, they have to


consider about the other areas where regime forces are holding out.


The town of Brega, for example. Coming back to the compound itself,


do you think it is too soon to say the rebels are in control of bet? -


- of it? You have summarise did very well. They are in control of


the surface, it would appear. He there will be a practical point,


there may well be unexploded rockets or bombs there. And who


knows whether there are regime forces and officials still holding


out. And resume its resources in a sense of any last stand there could


be taken by Gaddafi's family or his henchmen. Is there any danger of


chemical, biological weaponry? would imagine that Gaddafi have --


has close protection and bodyguards. But I imagine the rebels would be


attempting to negotiate a surrender, particularly as the Benghazi


authority would seek to bring Gaddafi to justice. On chemical and


biological weapons, we have no evidence that Libya ever had


biological weapons. When they came out of the colt, they did declare


they had chemical weapons. -- out of the cold. A high proportion of


those were decommissioned. If they have not been maintained, they may


well have deteriorated, and might be a great hazard. As the Libyan


Air Force seems to have been destroyed, we would also have to


question their ability to deliver them. If they were to use them to


military effect, or blind vengeance, they should have used them earlier


in the war. What about NATO's wore a -- role in all of this? It is


harder for them to come to play. Don't forget that politically, made


a's military mission is to protect civilians. -- NATO's. NATO is


taking measures to co-ordinate its air strikes with the rebel forces.


A NATO spokesman admitted there were allied troops on the ground


playing a role in co-ordinating his. But this is difficult stuff. It


maintains quite a lot of training. I think that is beyond the


credibility of the rebel forces on the ground. Even so, it carries a


risk of civilian casualties. NATO is probably concentrating its


resources on other things, for example carrying out surveillance


on the rest of Libya. I imagined it is also trying to cut down on its


missile launchers. We will go back to Tripoli now. Our


Middle East correspondent joins us on the line. Give us an idea of


what is happening around you. Darkness is falling here, and I had


to withdraw from the compound. Gaddafi's owner troops started


firing into the crowd. -- owner troops. He it is very difficult to


hear what you are saying. We are having problems with the technology


will stop we will try and come back to you. We should explain to allow


viewers we have continuing coverage of what is happening in Tripoli. We


also have news coming in of an earthquake, 5.8 magnitude, centred


in the state of Virginia. We are showing you some pictures of


Tripoli now, but I wanted a new that also, the US aviation


authorities have a evacuated control towers. We will continue to


turn you what is happening on the east coast of the US, and what is


happening in North Africa, and Tripoli. We will get our


correspondence on the ground and bring you all we have, and reaction


on both those fronts. So it, continue to watch BBC World. But


Hallowed, South East England it dodged it the worst of the


thunderstorms. Elsewhere, along with sunshine, there will be shut


was. Those showers courtesy of this area of low pressure. The showers


tomorrow, initially in the West, and then they pop up elsewhere.


Mostly during the morning. The second half of the day it will be


drier and brighter. The South East avoid most of those showers and


stays at dry will stop we will see showers en a South East England


however. -- in South East England. A Wales, it is Thatcham and showers.


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