Libya fighters seize Bani Walid
LIBYAN pro-government forces have seized control of Bani Walid, one of the last bastions of Muammar Gaddafi's ousted regime, an AFP correspondent in the town said.
Hundreds of fighters, mostly former rebels from the rival town of Misrata, converged on the centre of Bani Walid, firing in the air to celebrate and hoisting the Libyan flag on abandoned public buildings, he said.
Some of the fighters blasted the walls and windows with anti-tank rockets and Kalashnikov rifles.
Several rebel chiefs, whose fighters patrolled in vehicles mounted with heavy weapons, said the town was "almost liberated", with only a few pockets of resistance left in its southern sector.
Later in the day Libyan army chief-of-staff, Yussef al-Mangouch, officially announced the end of all military operations in the town, despite some pockets of resistance.
He said his troops were on a manhunt to track down several fighters who had fled towards the desert.
Warplanes were seen in the distance flying over the outskirts of the oasis town, itself deserted with residents and foreign workers having fled since Sunday.
Pro-government forces patrolled the ghost town in vehicles mounted with heavy machine guns.
Government spokesman Nasser al-Manaa said meanwhile that about 100 suspects were arrested in Bani Walid in connection with crimes committed during last year's revolution - namely combatants who sided with Gaddafi forces.
Posted by: tipper 2012-10-24