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moammar gadhafi
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Libya NTC Forces: Did They Loot Homes In Sirte?
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Libya NTC Forces: Did They Loot Homes In Sirte?

It was just a few weeks ago when residents of Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte fled, in some cases, just hours before the fighting began there. The National Transitional Council forces had pushed pro-Gadafi forces back to Sirte and a few other scattered locations after they had secured much of the nation as well as sealed the support of other countries around the world. The NTC had already been recognized as the interim government by the UN as well as establishing Libya's return back into the Arab League. Earlier this spring, Libya's membership had been suspended after Gadhafi refused to step down.

When the residents returned to their homes, however, many found that they had been damaged or looted and in many cases, both. Buildings were nothing but burned out hulks in some areas of Sirte, and nearly every home had sustained at least a few bullet holes. Those residents are now claiming that the damage was excessive and intentionally malicious, meant only to extract revenge on the residents who were loyal to Gadhafi. In addition, those residents have told reporters that they no longer feel safe in those homes that are standing, feeling that the city no longer has any security.

One of the most notable homes to have been destroyed was that of Moammar Gadhafi's daughter, Aisha, which was burned nearly to the ground. Residents are pointing to that home in particular to make their point that this was not an action of liberation but rather the extraction of vengenance. And, the residents have asked, if the were being freed from such a terrible ruler, why are their "rescuers" stealing their cars and their furniture?

The NTC fighters have claimed that they were not looting any of the homes in Sirte or other occupied areas, merely checking for weapons and resistant pro-Gadhafi fighters. Residents have countered that it was those fighters that were seen with their cars, their clothing and their furniture. Waleed Mouftah, the NTC Field Commander has another story about that suspected activity. Mouftah's claims are that armed groups, an estimated two hundred or more, have found a way to infiltrate several fo the NTC units in and around Sirte. Those groups are reported to have false identification cards and are setting up checkpoints that allow them to steal vehicles at will.

Others believe that the looting is being done by fighters from the city of Misrata, the site of some of the most ferocious of the fighting. Misrata was badly damaged by the pro-Gadhafi forces with a number of stories of rape, torture and murder in that town. It is reported that the looting in Sirte is vengenance by those from Misrata but that has not been confirmed.


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