Benghazi, September 3, 2011 (Al Jazeera)
Benghazi, September 3, 2011 (Al Jazeera)
Cities that have not joined the revolution have been given a week’s notice to do so, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of Libya’s National Transitional Council, has said.
At a press conference in Benghazi on Saturday, Jalil said his forces would lay siege to pro-Gaddafi cities until a deadline for their surrender expires next week.
Jalil said his forces are supplying the cities of Sirte, Bani Walid, Jufra and Sabha with humanitarian aid despite the siege.
He denied media reports that the interim authorities have ordered fighters to leave the capital Tripoli. “No decision has been made by the council to collect weapons from the revolutionaries or send them outside Tripoli,” he said.
Investigations are underway to expose any institutional corruption in Libya, he said. “At this time there has been some information on financial corruption within institutions will investigate this matter and report the names,” said Jalil.
Earlier, the NTC said that opponents of Gaddafi may have taken control in the town of Bani Walid, where Gaddafi loyalists had been holding out and possibly hiding the former leader.
At a news conference in Tripoli, Ali Tarhouni, the interim oil minister, said: “The military council in Tripoli has
just informed me a few minutes ago that there’s a possibility that Bani Walid will join the revolutionaries and it’s under the control of the revolutionaries.”
However, an NTC military commander said his fighters have given forces in Bani Walid until 08:00 GMT on Sunday to surrender, adding Gaddafi’s son Saadi was still there but another, Seif al-Islam, had fled.
Al Jazeera’s Sue Turton reporting from near Bani Walid said she witnessed a group of representatives from Bani Walid negotiating with the Libyan revolutionary fighters. The team from Bani Walid told the Libyan fighters that they want two more days before surrendering their weapons.
“The Libyan fighters are getting quite cross, they are saying we have been negotiating with you for months to lay down your weapons,” Turton said. “They are suspicious and are still not completely convinced that this surrender is going to happen.”
Tarhouni, on his part, gave no details of what had occurred on Saturday with regards to Bani Walid, but said there had been no fighting. Asked if Gaddafi was in the town, as claimed by NTC military commanders, Tarhouni said: “As for Gaddafi himself…we know where he is.”
Security for Tripoli
Tarhouni also announced the creation of a supreme security council to protect Tripoli.
“This committee represents all those who are concerned for the security of our new capital,” Tarhouni, who chairs the newly formed body as well as the NTC’s executive committee, said.
In their first meeting, the 17 members of the committee agreed that the capital’s security was the general responsibility of the interior ministry, which resumed work on Saturday, and of the police force in particular.
“The main goal is to protect citizens, as well as public and private establishments, and to eliminate what remains of pro-Gaddafi groups, or what is called the fifth column,” Tarhouni said.
The committee, which he said includes the majority of the revolutionary groups in the capital, also decided to include “remaining groups” under its umbrella and expected “no problems” in this regard.
“I do not anticipate any problems in other groups joining this committee,” Tarhouni said, adding that revolutionary units will temporarily assist police forces in securing the streets of the capital.
These groups, he said, will leave the city as soon as the city’s police, which boasts about 7,000 men, can fully take over.
Tarhouni also announced the creation of a new committee charged with centralising prisoners of war in a “safe and secure” location to ensure that their legal and human rights are respected.
Police were back on the streets of Tripoli and business slowly resumed at the end of a week of fighting and festivities.
Meanwhile, a special envoy for Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, has arrived in Tripoli.
Ian Martin landed at a military airport as Ban said the world body was ready to assist in re-establishing security after the nearly seven-month uprising that toppled Gaddafi.
“I am here now to discuss with the National Transitional Council how the United Nations can be most helpful in the future,” he told reporters on arrival.
Martin arrived amid questions about the UN’s future role in the country, particularly about whether a peacekeeping mission will be necessary.
“I think the future leaders of Libya face a very big challenge, they have already shown the ways in which they are ready to tackle that challenge and it will be the commitment of the United Nations to assist them in any way they ask.”