Purported Gadhafi message urges Libyans to resist new leaders

A National Transitional Council fighter walks past a plume of black smoke at the frontline in Bani Walid on October 4.

Story highlights

  • The speaker alleged to be Gadhafi tells Libyans to be brave and protest
  • Gadhafi loyalists were driven from the hills in Bani Walid
  • Fighting has raged for weeks for control of Bani Walid and Sirte

A message purportedly from deposed leader Moammar Gadhafi on Thursday slammed the legitimacy of Libya's ruling National Transitional Council and urged Libyans to take to the streets to protest.

"I tell them not to be scared from anyone," said the audio message, aired on Syrian-based Al-Rai television. "You are protesting peacefully in front of the world. Be brave and go out in the streets.

Of the transitional council, the speaker said, "Where did it get this official representation from? Did the Libyans elect it?"

Gadhafi has not been seen in public in months and his whereabouts remain unknown.

Meanwhile, revolutionary fighters still battling to remove the last bastions of Gadhafi's forces were able to wrest control of strategic posts in the hills of Bani Walid.

The hills lie on the northern front of the fighting in Bani Walid and were infested with snipers, said Abdulla Kenshill, a National Transitional Council spokesman in the city.

The council's fighters were also able to confiscate much of the heavy weaponry used by the Gadhafi loyalists.

Kenshill said two of the council's fighters were killed in a rocket attack Wednesday night.

Bani Walid radio was still broadcasting pro-Gadhafi messages from homes inside the city, Kenshill said. However, Libya Al Hurra radio, which supports the revolutionaries, was also on the air from Bani Walid, which is about 170 kilometers (105 miles) southeast of Tripoli.

Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi is believed to be hiding out in Bani Walid. That city and Sirte, the coastal birthplace of Gadhafi, remain contested even as the National Transitional Council moves forward to form new governance in Libya.

Libya's new leadership plans to declare "liberation" if and when Sirte falls. But Gadhafi's men have put up stiff resistance and the fighting has gone on there, as well as in Bani Walid, for weeks. The transitional council's leader and the interim prime minister have promised to step down once Sirte is taken to clear the way for a new government.

Moammar Gadhafi and Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, are wanted for alleged crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

        Battle for Libya

      • Panetta, Dempsey defend U.S. response

        A testy exchange erupted between Sen. John McCain and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey during the latter's testimony about September's deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
      • Five things from the Benghazi hearings

        Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took on Republican congressional critics of her department's handling of the deadly September terrorist attack in Libya.
      • Children in Benghazi hold up placards reading "No to terrorism" (R) and "yes for stability and security" on January 15.

        Benghazi tries to escape its ghosts

        Bilal Bettamer wants to save Benghazi from those he calls "extremely dangerous people." But his campaign against the criminal and extremist groups that plague the city has put his life at risk.
      • Protesters near the US Embassy in Cairo.

        Dispute over how attack began

        Was the attack on the Libyan U.S. Consulate the result of a mob gone awry, a planned terror attack or a combination of the two?
      • Image #: 19358881    Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, smiles at his home in Tripoli June 28, 2012. Stevens and three embassy staff were killed late on September 11, 2012, as they rushed away from a consulate building in Benghazi, stormed by al Qaeda-linked gunmen blaming America for a film that they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad. Stevens was trying to leave the consulate building for a safer location as part of an evacuation when gunmen launched an intense attack, apparently forcing security personnel to withdraw. Picture taken June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori (LIBYA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST OBITUARY)       REUTERS /ESAM OMRAN AL-FETORI /LANDOV

        U.S. ambassador's last moments

        Three days before the deadly attack in Benghazi, a local security official says he warned U.S. diplomats about deteriorating security.
      • CNN Arabic

        For the latest news on developments in the Middle East and North Africa in Arabic.