Monday, February 28, 2011

Gaddafi: All my people love me

Washington – Libya’s beleaguered strongman Muammar Gaddafi insisted on Monday “all my people love me” in an interview with ABC television.

“All my people love me. They would die to protect me,” the veteran Libyan leader said, according to ABC’s Christiane Amanpour in a message sent on her Twitter account.

Gaddafi, who has ruled his north African country for more than 41 years, also refused to acknowledge there were any demonstrations on the streets of Tropoli, Amanpour added.

Gaddafi’s forces hit back on Monday against opposition demonstrations, launching bombing raids in areas held by pro-democracy forces, witnesses told AFP in Libya.

Fighter jets bombed ammunition stores in the eastern town of Adjabiya, around 100km south of the city, a witness told AFP by telephone. Two planes also attacked a munitions dump at Rajma, just south of the city, a military reservist said.

A brutal crackdown by the regime on opposition protests that began nearly two weeks ago has killed at least 1 000 people and set off a “humanitarian emergency”, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said, as almost 100 000 migrant workers fled the North African state.

Govt. on alert over militia threats-Kenya

The government has taken precautionary security measures following threats of attacks by the Somali militia group Al-Shabaab.

Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere says the threats by Alshabaab cannot be taken for granted considering they issued a similar warning to Uganda before bomb attacks that killed more than 70 people in July last year for which they claimed responsibility.

Addressing journalists in Nairobi on Monday Iteere said security has been beefed up on the Kenyan borders to avert entry of any illegal groups.

However, Iteere urged Kenyans not to panic and assured them that security personnel are on high alert. Ha called on the public to cooperate with security agents in case they encounter any suspicious individuals or groups.

The police boss also said calm has returned to the border town of Mandera following a week-long fighting on the Somalia side between Al -Shabaab militia, troops allied to the Somali transitional Government and Ethiopian troops.

During the fighting, one person was killed by stray bullets fired from Somalia and ten others injured.

The Al Shabaab have threatened to launch an attack against Kenya for assisting the Somali Transitional government by allegedly allowing Ethiopian forces to stage raids from its territory.

Meanwhile the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has embarked on registration of Somalia refugees in Mandera town.

Following heavy fighting between Al-Shabab militants and forces allied to the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, along the Kenya-Somalia border, hundreds of refugees are scattered in Mandera town and its environs.

A lull in the fighting on Sunday enabled the KRCS personnel to start registration of refugees that would facilitate distribution of relief aid.

A team comprising the Provincial Administration, KRCS and medical officers has identified a site for a temporary refugee camp. KRCS has also deployed to Mandera relief items for 1000 households (6,000 people.

On 25th February 2011, gunshots hit KRCS Mandera Offices where six staff members were holed up.

A woman was killed at Border Point One and 10 casualties treated at Mandera District Hospital.

At least 17 people who sustained injuries following the conflict have been treated in various health facilities in the district.

tragedy Intervening in the Libyan

The unfolding situation in Libya has been horrible to behold. No matter how many times we warn that dictators will do what they must to stay in power, it is still shocking to see the images of brutalized civilians which have been flooding al-Jazeera and circulating on the internet. We should not be fooled by Libya’s geographic proximity to Egypt and Tunisia, or guided by the debates over how the United States could best help a peaceful protest movement achieve democratic change. The appropriate comparison is Bosnia or Kosovo, or even Rwanda where a massacre is unfolding on live television and the world is challenged to act. It is time for the United States, NATO, the United Nations and the Arab League to act forcefully to try to prevent the already bloody situation from degenerating into something much worse.

By acting, I mean a response sufficiently forceful and direct to deter or prevent the Libyan regime from using its military resources to butcher its opponents. I have already seen reports that NATO has sternly warned Libya against further violence against its people. Making that credible could mean the declaration and enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya, presumably by NATO, to prevent the use of military aircraft against the protestors. It could also mean a clear declaration that members of the regime and military will be held individually responsible for any future deaths. The U.S. should call for an urgent, immediate Security Council meeting and push for a strong resolution condeming Libya’s use of violence and authorizing targeted sanctions against the regime. Such steps could stand a chance of reversing the course of a rapidly deteriorating situation. An effective international response could not only save many Libyan lives, it might also send a powerful warning to other Arab leaders who might contemplate following suit against their own protest movements.

I don’t have any illusions that the outside world can control what happens in Libya, if the regime really wants to try to hold power by force. I don’t call for a direct military intervention. And I am keenly, painfully aware of all that could go wrong with even the kinds of responses I am recommending. But right now those fears are outweighed by the urgent imperative of trying to prevent the already bloody situation from getting much, much worse. This is not a peaceful democracy protest movement which the United States can best help by pressuring allied regimes from above, pushing for long-term and meaningful reform, and persuading the military to refrain from violence. It’s gone well beyond that already, and this time I find myself on the side of those demanding more forceful action before it’s too late. The steady stream of highly public defections from the regime suggest that rapid change is possible, yesterday’s speech by Saif al-Islam Qaddafi and today’s events suggest that so is terrible violence.

There is no avoiding what is happening in Libya. Al-Jazeera Arabic has been covering the Libyan situation heavily for the last couple of days and has powerfully conveyed the gravity of the situation, including broadcasting some truly
disturbing images and video of protestors. I’ve been stunned by what Libyans inside the country and outside have been willing to say on the air about the regime — prominent Libyan diplomats declaring Qaddafi to
by a tyrant, major tribal leaders calling for his overthrow, Yusuf al-Qaradawi calling on the air for someone to shoot Qaddafi, and more. The Arab world’s attention is focused on Libya now, after several days of a fragmented news agenda divided among Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt and more. Voice after voice, Libyans and other Arabs alike, denounce the silence of the international community and call for action. Qaddafi has few friends, and Qatar has called for
an urgent Arab League meeting to deal with the crisis. While history doesn’t suggest we can expect all that much from that club, their public support for international action could go a long way towards overcoming any suggestion that this is an imperialist venture.

That’s all for now.