Middle East

Shelling in Libya’s Bani Walid kills man and child: medic

Libyan army forces gather at their headquarters in Tripoli October 18, 2012, before their deployment to the city of Bani Walid, some 185 km south of the capital. Libya's army is heading towards the former Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid hoping to impose order in the town after deadly clashes there, the chief of staff said on Thursday. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

TRIPOLI: Libyan fighters linked to the army Friday pounded the town of Bani Walid, a former bastion of toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi, killing a man and a child, according to a medic. “We have received two people dead and more than nine wounded until now,” said Abdullah al-Mansuri, deputy director of Bani Walid’s hospital. “The shelling is ongoing so the number of casualties could grow,” he said, adding that those killed were a 13-year-old boy and a man in his fifties.

The spike in violence comes one year after rebels defeated die-hard loyalists of the former regime both in Bani Walid and the desert city of Sirte, hometown of Gadhafi who was captured and killed on Oct. 20, 2011.

The crisis in Bani Walid was triggered by the death of Omran Shaaban, a native of the rival city of Misrata who was credited with catching the dictator last year.

Shaaban, 22, was kidnapped in July and held hostage for weeks in the oasis town, where he was allegedly tortured, before the authorities brokered his release.

Shaaban died last month succumbing to gunshot wounds sustained during that ordeal.

Libya’s national assembly on Sept. 25 gave an order to the Interior and Defense ministries to find the perpetrators in Ban Walid, authorizing force if necessary.

Clashes prevented the president of the assembly, Mohammad al-Megaryef, from reaching the town Thursday. He had been expected to meet with tribal leaders and commanders to negotiate a peaceful entry for the armed forces.

And violence Wednesday claimed at least 11 lives and left scores wounded.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 20, 2012, on page 11.




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