Libya's revolution returns to Bin Jawad, this time they say for good [VIDEO]
Anti-Qaddafi militias have almost retaken Bin Jawad, the last major town east of Sirte, Muammar Qaddafi's hometown and last major stronghold. They insist they've learned from past mistakes.
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"We won't make the same mistake we made before," says Seraj El Mana, who is part of a civilian volunteer militia but wore a new camouflage uniform donated by Qatar.Skip to next paragraph
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The fighters had planned to spend several days of rest in Benghazi, but their commander called them back immediately to help in the clearing of Bin Jawad. They said there were not enough weapons for all the fighters. The three, usually on an artillery crew, have no rifles or handguns, which they need for urban combat. Out of their fighting group of 60, only about 30 have personal weapons, they said.
Mr. Mana and his comrades also scoffed at NTC officials insistence that a negotiated surrender is plan for Sirte. "There are no negotiations. There's only fighting," said Mana, describing how Qaddafi's forces were shelling them as officials talked of ongoing negotiations. He's doubtful that the tribal elders the NTC is supposedly negotiating with have any control over Qaddafi's forces, and therefore thinks the end will come through fighting, not through talking.
When Benghazi, Libya's second largest city and the de facto capital of the revolution for the past six months, fell Qaddafi's defeated forces departed in convoy and on planes for Sirte. The 32nd Brigade of Qaddafi's son Khamis, probably the most loyal and capable of the regimes units, has had many of its men stationed in the city throughout the conflict. While there were unconfirmed reports today that Khamis may have been killed trying to flee Tripoli, the men in the 32nd are among the most likely of the regime holdouts to fight to the end.
One reason for the revolutionary fighters pessimism that talk will not succeed in Sirte is their view that Qaddafi's forces have been brainwashed. They described listening to a radio exchange between Qaddafi and rebel forces, in which Qaddafi's soldiers said the rebels were foreign, and asked the rebel fighters on the radio why they had brought British, French, and Qatari forces to fight Libyans.
With such a mindset, and unwilling to listen to reason, they will not surrender, said the fighters.