Libyan city dubbed 'Free Benghazi' as anti-Gaddafi troops take control | World news |

Submitted by Sam Moore on Wed, 02/23/2011 - 11:40

Benghazi tank anti Gaddaf 007

Looks like Gaddafi's strategy of making war on his own people is beginning to backfire. There's very clear evidence that the Libyan military is rejecting his rule, based on his use of mercenaries and his commands to use heavy weapons on civilians.

Soldiers brought rockets and heavy weapons which had been used in an assault on citizens in central Benghazi on Saturday as Gaddafi tried to keep control of the city. Doctors in Benghazi said that at least 230 people were killed, with a further 30 critically injured.

There was also the clearest confirmation yet that Gaddafi's regime used outside mercenaries to try to suppress the rebellion. Adjoining the police station a large crowd gathered in another courtyard. Upstairs, the Guardian saw a number of mercenaries, allegedly flown in the previous week, being interrogated by lawyers and army officials.

An air force officer, Major Rajib Faytouni, said he personally witnessed up to 4,000 mercenaries arrive on Libyan transport planes over a period of three days starting from 14 February. He said: "That's why we turned against the government. That and the fact there was an order to use planes to attack the people."

Guardian piece on Benghazi

Guardian's live updates on the whole Libyan situation

Al Jazeera's coverage