Africa

Libya unrest: Misrata voices

  • 24 March 2011
  • From the section Africa

Misrata continues to be the focus of attention as Muammar Gaddafi's forces continue their attempts to retake the rebel-held city in western Libya.

BBC News has spoken to people in the city and in Tripoli who say it is a time of uncertainty and fear.

Mohamed, Feb17 Revolution

We've had another night of the wave of air strikes by international forces. We are so grateful and we are so relieved by those strikes.

They are drying up Gaddafi's military resources around the city.

We heard many large explosions last night and even now we continue to hear the aeroplanes circling the air above Misrata right now.

They put fear into this murderous dictator's forces and they are running scared now.

Our major problem in Misrata is with the snipers. Gaddafi's forces have occupied the main street in Misrata which stretches from the town centre all the way to the highway and beyond.

This is where the major action is. There are snipers all along the rooftops of that street. They are firing indiscriminately into the main street and the back streets. They want to strike fear into the people of Misrata. They are wreaking havoc in Misrata and taking the lives of innocent people.

They are moving outwards to the north and north east of that street and are occupying more and more rooftops. They have occupied the whole street so they have a clear pathway into Misrata

But the heavy artillery and shelling has stopped since yesterday. In that sense we are in a much better position.

The big attack on Misrata started a week ago and the clinic here has seen many casualties since then.

Since that day we have had 109 deaths in a week.

The number of critically injured is at least 81. Any non-life threatening injuries have been sent home.

The number of those with non life threatening injuries has exceeded 1,300.

It is mainly youths but the heartbreaking aspect is that most of those are civilians. I am absolutely certain of that - when I say that I mean people who were in the comfort of their own homes. Shells landed in their homes.

Last night, they tried to shell one of the hospitals. There are snipers everywhere.

Gaddafi said he had called a ceasefire in Misrata - let me tell you know there has not been a ceasefire in Misrata.

We try to protect ourselves by walking close to the walls and hiding from their sight. We run from their sights but we have to sometimes run and try to cross the street

But we are running out of medical supplies. The dictator is not giving us any aid. We have to resort to other means.

Misrata is the economic capital of Libya... all containers come into here. We are well stocked with food but this is our 10th day without running water, electricity or communications.

However I feel a sense of freedom I have never felt in my whole life in Libya. I feel good in a sense but my heart is broken by the carnage I see. Four boys died from my neighbourhood and I was at the funeral of one of them yesterday. It is heartbreaking.

I feel for my people and my country. I feel so happy we are finally getting rid of this man who has tarnished the reputation of my country.

Libyans are not anything like Gaddafi portrays. We are peace-loving, moderate Muslims.

We want a democracy - a Libya for all Libyans.

Sadoon, Misrata, Feb17 Revolution

This morning, it has been quite quiet compared to others. But we remain wary and cautious.

We are mainly concerned about the humanitarian aspect now in the city, especially around the issue of medical supplies.

The small hospital which is treating casualties is running out of supplies. The main hospital is being refurbished so this smaller one (a large polyclinic facility) is being overwhelmed by the number of people that need treatment.

We have problems with electricity and no means of communication.

The food supply that we have in the city is already running low.

We are crying out to the international community to help us. Misrata is deteriorating.

Yesterday I went out driving around for an hour and all I could find was one bottle of water. People are relying on the old traditional methods of using wells to try to find drinking water.

We need clear intervention and we need it now.

We are not yet running out of petrol supplies as Misrata is a hub for this but if the situation continues to escalate, than I don't know.

Resident, Tripoli

We hear bombing from time to time.

There has been no school for a month - my children are at home.

The banks are open but they have no cash to give out.

There are long queues at the station.

Some of the supermarkets are open but not like normal. If you want to have bread - there are long queues for the ovens.

If you want dairy products, they are not there anymore.

All of the shops are closed on one of the main streets.

We are waiting and we don't know what we are waiting for.

There is a strong security presence on the police and tens of thousands of young people are arrested.

Interviews by Dhruti Shah

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