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article imageInfighting as Libyan rebels on looting spree in Abu Hadi, Sirte

By Katerina Nikolas     Oct 6, 2011 in World
Widespread looting has broken out in the Sirte suburb of Abu Hadi, in the hands of rebel fighters. Infighting has broken out between eastern fighters and Mistrata rebels who seek revenge on Gaddafi loyalists by stealing, looting and setting homes on fire.
As the siege of Sirte continues the suburb of Abu Hadi has fallen into the hands of rebel fighters who are rampaging through the streets on a looting spree. Homes are looted and set ablaze, dividing loyalties between National Transitional Council fighters. Some rebels maintain they are fighting for freedom whilst others display their true colors as thieves and thugs.
Fighters from the east of Libya, where the conflict began, are attempting to control the rampaging fighters from Mistrata. They are trying to protect civilians from the Gadhadfa tribe which were based in Abu Hadi as Mistratans seek vengeance. Fathi al-Shobash, from the east of Libya, said "I came to sincerely fight for freedom and my one goal is to rid Libya of Moammar Gadhafi. Why take it out on innocent people from his tribe?" ABC News reported.Civilians in Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown, are angered by the destruction of their city. Many remain loyal to Gaddafi and claim they are shelled and bombed indiscriminately. They speak bitterly of NATO and the NTC fighters. A resident from Sirte said "What did America and NATO bring to us? Did they bring apricots? No, they brought us the shelling and the strikes. They terrorised our kids,” according to IBN. Another pointed out the total futility of such unnecessary carnage, saying "Let them look for Muammar, but do not kill 50,000 people to change the regime. It is not worth it that thousands die in Sirte for Muammar. This is what saddens us." MSNBC quote Fatima al-Gadhafi, a young woman from Gaddafi’s tribe who was fleeing Sirte. She said "They wanted a revolution — so do it in Misrata and leave the rest of us alone” adding “I never saw anything bad from the old regime. We lived in safety and peace always." One fleeing resident said that Sirte residents were volunteering to take up arms against the fighters who bring an unwanted revolution to their city.
Col. Bashir Abu Thafeera, commander of a brigade of eastern fighters who hopes to prevent the same widespread looting and destruction by Mistratan rebels if Sirte falls, nevertheless excused the looters behaviour as understandable. He said they were seeking vengeance as “They suffered a lot at the beginning of this revolution, and this is also the reaction of 42 years of oppression under Gadhafi” ABC News reported.
It would appear that there are two elements within the rebel fighting groups. However the soldiers that have trained in the east cannot control the fighters from Mistrata who openly seek revenge on Gaddafi loyalists, pro-Gaddafi civilians and former residents of Tawergha. This does not bode well for unity amongst Libyans once the fighting ceases
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