Libya Update: Gaddafi Losing Control Of Military?
There are reports today that seem to indicate that at least some elements of the Libyan Army are openly taking sides against the government:
Members of a Libyan army unit have told Benghazi residents they have defected and “liberated” the city from pro-Gaddafi forces.
Speaking from Benghazi, a local man named Benali, told Sky News members of the Libya’s armed forces have defected and that anti-regime protesters are now in control of the city.
Habib al-Oba, who heads the intensive care unit at the main Al-Jalae hospital, appeared to confirm the reports, saying the “Thunderbolt” squad arrived with soldiers who had been injured in clashes with Gaddafi’s men.
Al-Jazeera has a similar report:
9:40 pm Mohamed, a doctor from Al Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, confirmed to Al Jazeera that members of the military had sided with the protesters.
We are still receiving serious injuries, I can confirm 13 deaths in our hospital. However, the good news is that people are cheering and celebrating outside after receiving news that the army is siding with the people … but there is still a brigade that is against the demonstrators. For the past three days demonstrators have been shot at by this brigade, called Al-Sibyl brigade.
As is Reuters:
(Reuters) – Members of a Libyan army unit told Benghazi residents on Sunday they had defected and “liberated” Libya’s second city from troops supporting veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi, two residents said.
Habib al-Obaidi, who heads the intensive care unit at the main Al-Jalae hospital, and lawyer Mohamed al-Mana, told Reuters members of the “Thunderbolt” squad had arrived at the hospital with soldiers wounded in clashes with Gaddafi’s personal guard.
“They are now saying that they have overpowered the Praetorian Guard and that they have joined the people’s revolt,” al-Mana said by telephone. It was not possible to independently verify the report.
As with everything about these protests its hard to tell what’s really going on in Libya but, if this story of defections among the military is true then its clear that the Gaddafi regime could be in serious trouble.
As always, stay tuned.