NTC forces in Libya have occupied the desert town of Bani Walid.
The soldiers held celebrations in the city centre hoisting flags and firing rifles in the air.
Ahmed Bani, the interim government’s military spokesman, confirmed that: “90 percent of Bani Walid has been liberated.”
Nestled in a rocky valley, the town, 150 kilometres south-east of Tripoli, had proven difficult to take as the NTC faced frequent clashes with Gaddafi’s former security forces, as well as a loyal local population.
The capture of this city now leaves the symbolically important city of Sirte as the last bastian of support for the deposed leader. Despite many weeks of bombardment, the disorganised NTC forces show few signs of finally taking over the home town of Gaddafi.
Libya’s new leaders say they will only begin the transition to democracy after they capture this city.