No doubt this was a messy business but it had to be sorted or else it would destabilize Libya. Remember this is the intention of Libyans from the start FREEDOM! I know people that have died for the freedom for the future generations. My children will have the benefits for their sacrifices.
"The military act is now finished. We now are working to make the city stable and more secure," army chief of staff Youssef al-Mangoush told reporters. "That doesn't mean that there isn't some resistance here or there. Now the government is in charge."
More than a year after the death of Mummar Qaddafi, the last major Qaddafi stronghold is finally taken by the armed forces of the revolutionary government in Libya.
Twitter is alive with the news and the Libya Herald is reporting at this hour:
After one week of intensive clashes, Bani Walid, the last pro-Qaddafi stronghold in Libya, has fallen.
The announcement was made today by Chief of Staff General Yusuf Mangoush, following reports that the army and allied brigades had succeeded in entering and holding the centre of the town early this morning.
Sporadic fighting was reported between the opposing forces today, but only in certain small pockets of the hilltop town.
The army is controlling Bani Walid and I can announce that military operations have now concluded, Mangoush said this afternoon. But that does not mean we dont have follow-up operations and some resistance here and there.
The Libya Herald continues:
Well over 25,000 civilians are said to have been displaced, with scores killed and wounded on both sides, in a conflict that first began on 2 October.It has become apparent that earlier rumors about the capture of Khamis Qaddafi were without foundation.
In the past few days, the military succeeded in taking control of the populated districts surrounding Bani Walid but had hitherto failed to achieve more than temporary raids into the centre.
Both sides have deployed light and heavy weapons against one another, resulting in large numbers of civilian as well as military casualties.
Inside Bani Walid, pro-government forces were seen firing heavy machine guns and RPGs at abandoned buildings today amidst cries of God is Great! as they celebrated the liberation of the town.
Government spokesman Nasser Al-Manaa has also announced that more than 100 wanted persons from Bani Walid, including former members of Khamis Qaddafis 32nd brigade, had been captured and several hostages freed.
Al-Manaa also took the opportunity to apologise for apparently false reports from both the government and the National Congress regarding the killing of Khamis and the capture of former regime spokesman Ibrahim Moussa last week.
We apologise for mistakes made regarding declarations about the capture of different personalities, Manaa said. It was not our intention to mislead people or to hide something.
Manaa also announced the establishment of three committees by the government to deal with security inside Bani Walid, the resumption of services and the return of refugees.
Numerous homes are known to have been destroyed over the course of the conflict, and the town has been without regular essential services such as fuel, electricity and water for several weeks.
AP is also reporting this story:
On the diplomatic front, RT is reporting today:
Libyan militia takes former Gadhafi stronghold
By ESAM MOHAMED Oct. 24 11:52 AM EDT
BANI WALID, Libya (AP) Libya's government on Wednesday took control of one of the last strongholds of deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi's loyalists, the government claimed, after fierce battles that left dozens dead and thousands displaced.
The capture of Bani Walid was a triumph for the government that replaced Gadhafi's regime, but the fact that it took a full year underlined the fractious nature of the country and the new regime's inability to impose its authority over squabbling tribes and heavily armed militias. More...
US blocks Russia's draft statement in UN on peaceful resolution of Bani Walid violence
Edited: 24 October, 2012, 03:47
The United States has blocked a draft statement, proposed by Russia, on the resolution of violence in the Libyan town of Bani Walid, which has been under siege for weeks. The statement called for a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Russias envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin said the move can't be serious, reminding the American delegation of the deadly attack in Benghazi that claimed the lives of four US diplomats in September.
Blocking a draft statement that called to solve the countrys political problems without violence is very strange, Churkin said. This is a case when it is difficult to explain the US delegations actions in rational terms.
The statement drafted by Russia on Bani Walid called on the Libyan authorities to take urgent steps to resolve the conflict by peaceful means and to preserve the rights of all Libyan citizens. It also expressed concern about the significant escalation of violence in and around the city of Bani Walid in recent days.
And more reports are coming in at this hour. Here is the Reuters report:
The Guardian is reporting:
Pro-government forces seize old Gaddafi bastion Bani Walid
By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
BANI WALID, Libya | Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:23pm BST
Forces loyal to Libya's government took control of the former Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid on Wednesday, commanders said, after weeks of fighting that have underlined the weakness of central authority more than a year after Libya's revolution.
Pro-government fighters shouted "Bani Walid is free!" as pick-up trucks mounted with weapons poured into the centre of the isolated hilltop town, one of the last to surrender last year to the rebels who toppled Muammar Gaddafi. More..
Al Jazeera is reporting:
Gaddafi stronghold Bani Walid captured by Libya government troops
At least 20 die in battle for desert town which remained loyal to late Libyan dictator
Chris Stephen in Tripoli
Wednesday 24 October 2012 13.45 EDT
Libyan government forces captured the town of Bani Walid on Wednesday, ending an eight-day battle that has cost at least 20 lives and left more than 200 wounded.
The desert town, described by the government as Libya's last stronghold loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, has defied official control since January.
Government spokesman Nasser al-Mana'a said the offensive followed a string of kidnappings by gangs in the town and the murder of a former militiaman credited with capturing Gaddafi last year.
"Bani Walid had become a centre for fugitives from justice, kidnappers we can say they kidnapped the city," he said.
Television pictures showed army units backed by pickup trucks carrying anti-aircraft guns being deployed in a town square in the centre. A uniformed pro-government militia commander, Feras Sewehli, said: "Bani Walid is under government control."
The president of Libya's parliament, Mohamed el-Magariaf, said human rights were being respected by army forces, after the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon called for all sides to show restraint. "Military operations in Bani Walid do not target the city and its people," Magariaf said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross reported that 25,000 of the town's estimated 80,000 population have fled to refugee camps outside town because of the fighting, the worst Libya has seen since the end of October 2011 More..
Libyan forces take former Gaddafi stronghold
Pro-government fighters enter Bani Walid, firing grenades and anti-aircraft weapons in area described as a ghost town.
24 Oct 2012 19:28
Forces loyal to Libya's government have taken control of the former Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid, commanders have said, after weeks of fighting that have underlined the weakness of central authority more than a year after Libya's revolution.
Pro-government fighters shouted "Bani Walid is free!" on Wednesday as pick-up trucks mounted with weapons poured into the centre of the isolated hilltop town, one of the last to surrender last year to the rebels who toppled the late Libyan leader.
Thousands of people have fled the bloodshed between rival militias this month, and pockets of resistance were still reported on Wednesday on the outskirts of Bani Walid, about 170km south of Tripoli, the capital.
Bent on making their mark on a town they say still harbours many of Gaddafi's followers, pro-government forces fired rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft weapons at empty buildings.
Heavy gunfire thundered non-stop and smoke billowed over part of the town.
The fighters cried "Allahu Akbar!" (God is Great) and "Today Bani Walid is finished!", honking car horns and blasting patriotic music from their trucks.
Some of them climbed onto the roof of one building in the ghost town to hoist Libya's tricolour flag and then fired their rifles in the air More..
Official Libyan Army report on situation in Bani Walid on 21 Oct 2012 [Arabic YouTube]
Human Rights Watch has issued a statement:
Libya: Residents of Bani Walid at Risk
Government Should Ensure Lives, Protect Property
October 24, 2012
(Beirut) Government and government-aligned military forces who entered Bani Walid on October 24, 2012, after a month-long operation should protect residents and property in the town. Many Libyans have considered Bani Walid a safe haven for supporters and former officials of Muammar Gaddafi, Libyas former leader.
The Libyan government should facilitate the immediate delivery of medical supplies, food, and fuel to Bani Walid, Human Rights Watch said. It should also make clear that crimes committed by attacking forces such as looting, beatings, and the destruction of property will be prosecuted.
The government and forces under its command should protect residents in Bani Walid and reject acts of revenge, said Fred Abrahams, special advisor at Human Rights Watch. There is an urgent need to stop destruction of the town and begin reconstruction, as well as to prosecute those who broke the law. More...