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Africa

Libyan rebels face pro-Gaddafi troops

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2011-03-28

FRANCE 24 reports from the eastern Libyan town of Ajdabiyah, where the battle is raging between inexperienced rebel fighters and well-trained forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.

Libyan rebels, armed with rocket propellers, Kalashnikovs and knives, have been fighting pro-Gaddafi forces for days in a bid to retake the strategic eastern town of Ajdabiyah.

The key oil town, 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, was captured by troops loyal to the Libyan leader last week on their drive eastward against the month-old uprising.

Inexperienced and ill-equipped, the rebels are undermined by disarray in their ranks.

Like many of his fellow rebel fighters, Khaled has no military training.

“I got trained quickly. It took just three days,” he told FRANCE 24. “Then I went for it. I’ve fought in Bin Jawad, in Brega, and in Ajdabiya. It’ll be fine.”

Despite that optimism, many of these fighters learn to use a combat weapon only moments before heading out to battle. The army they are facing, on the other hand, is well-prepared and skillful.

Some soldiers from the pro-Gaddafi forces joined the rebels at the beginning of the uprising. One of those men told FRANCE 24: “We, the soldiers, we're supposed to support the revolutionaries,” though he added that “they’re difficult to deal with, they act like militias”.

Many of the rebels traveling on the road toward Ajdabiya are unarmed, as rockets fired by Gaddafi’s troops land around them.


 

Date created : 2011-03-25

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