Benghazi committee attempts to restore order

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Benghazi committee attempts to restore order

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The Libyan army in the east has melted away, abandoning tanks and deserting or joining the people in their uprising against Colonel Gaddafi.

Thousands of people have been coming out into the streets to celebrate the fall of the regime, honking car horns and painting anti-Gaddafi slogans wherever they can.

There has been resistance from loyalist forces and a hastily-formed Security Committee in Benghazi is trying to take over administration.

The revolt has also spread to the west where several towns say they are now controlled by rebel forces. Heavy fighting has been reported in one, Zawiyah, where at least 23 people have been killed and 44 wounded, and clashes continue.

Tobruk airport fell after heavy fighting, with aircraft and more armour falling into the hands of the rebels.

“Thank God we won. They had weapons but we had stones,” said one. “God helped and we won. All Arabs must do something to stop this tyrant. Where is the United Nations?”

The Benghazi committee says it has 23 alleged mercenaries from Sudan, Chad and Niger in custody, captured after fighting alongside government forces.

With most of Libya’s oil in the east, Gaddafi will have to move against the rebels, and they are digging in expecting imminent attack. But before that, they are exploding with joy at the humiliation of a hated leader.