Thursday, 12 May 2011

Colonel Qadhafi makes an appearance on State TV

It has been almost two weeks since Libyan Leader Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi has made an appearance in public, but yesterday Libya's State TV showed Qadhafi meeting Libyan tribal officials. According to Libya, the footage was filmed on Wednesday 11th May.

Qadhafi has shunned the limelight since 30th April when a NATO strike reportedly killed his youngest son and three grandchildren.

Earlier today, Libyan rebels said they have pushed back pro-Qadhafi troops and have captured Misrata airport. The western city remains under rebel control despite continued attacks by the Leader's forces.

NATO has carried out 6,000 missions over Libya since it launched its military operations there at the end of March. The air raids have aided the rebels in securing strongholds in eastern Libya, but it is unclear to what extent, if at all, they have loosened Qadhafi's grip on the west of the country.

Just days ago the UN called on Libya to suspend hostilities in order to ease the humanitarian crisis. UN aid chief Baroness Valerie Amos told the UN Security Council that Misrata was running short of basic supplies such as food and water.

It is estimated that almost 750,000 have fled Libya since the uprising. Amos said that the turmoil in the country has impacted the wellbeing of Libyan nationals and further called on the Security Council to ensure that all parties respect international law. The official said that use of cluster bombs, sea and land mines, as well as aerial bombing showed a callous disregard for civilians.

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, Voice of America

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

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