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Reprisal Violence As Libyan Rebels Gain Control

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Reprisal Violence As Libyan Rebels Gain Control

Africa

Reprisal Violence As Libyan Rebels Gain Control

Reprisal Violence As Libyan Rebels Gain Control

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In Libya, rebels have consolidated their control over the main city, Tripoli. Reports of human rights abuses are surfacing, with reports of apparent retaliatory murders. Reporters Sunday were taken to an apparent massacre site near a military camp held by supporters of Moammar Gadhafi. Meanwhile, a Gadhafi spokesman reportedly offered to negotiate with insurgents. Guest host John Ydstie discusses the latest news from Libya with NPR's Jason Beaubien.

JOHN YDSTIE, Host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm John Ydstie.

Rebels in Libya say they've completely liberated the capital, Tripoli. There is only sporadic fighting south of the city. And there is mounting evidence of mass executions during the recent fighting.

NPR's Jason Beaubien is at one such site and joins us now.

Jason, where are you and what's the scene there?

JASON BEAUBIEN: I'm just I decide what was one of Gadhafi's military bases in the south of the city. And inside a warehouse, just outside the back wall of the compound, they were holding people who were detainees; people who had been supporters of the revolution. People who - there was one man here who escaped. And he says that on Wednesday soldiers loyal to Gadhafi came in and started throwing grenades into the compound where all of the people who were being held.

Now that's just filled with charred bodies all over the floor. Also outside, the guards had been bound and were clearly shot. It's just a scene of complete utter destruction and just bodies everywhere.

YDSTIE: And what are the rebels doing with the bodies?

BEAUBIEN: Well, right now, they're burying them. They're digging some pits here on the compound, and they're starting to move those bodies into pits right here in the compound.

YDSTIE: Moammar Gadhafi's whereabouts are still unknown. But a spokesman today says he's now willing to negotiate. How is that offer to negotiate being taken?

BEAUBIEN: It's really being considered a complete joke. Obviously, the rebels completely control Tripoli now. They find it just amusing that he would even make that offer. It's unclear whether it's really coming from him or not. They are no longer in a position to start negotiating. They feel like they completely control the city and they're going to continue to pursue could Gadhafi.

YDSTIE: Any idea where Gadhafi is?

BEAUBIEN: No, we really have no idea where Gadhafi is. Clearly some of his loyalists are continuing to defend Sirte, further to the east. So there's speculation that maybe he's there. But we and most other people really don't know.

YDSTIE: Jason, I understand you also ran across some sub-Saharan Africans who were in a precarious situation. Can you tell us about that?

BEAUBIEN: Yes, we today came up on some Africans who were being held at this same military base. There was a group about a dozen of them and the rebels were holding them. The rebels are saying these men are killers. They were fighters for Gadhafi. And the men were saying no, we're just workers here. And traditionally, men from sub-Saharan Africa came here, worked. They took us to a farm.

There was about several hundred of them on this farm. And while we were there, other rebels came and actually kicked them off the farm and said that they have to go. They didn't tell them where to go. These men are absolutely terrified that if they go out into the streets they're going to be viewed as mercenaries by the people who are now in control.

And almost everyone seems to have a gun. And these men are terrified that they're going to be killed if they're out on the streets.

YDSTIE: Sounds like a difficult situation. Thank you, Jason.

BEAUBIEN: You're welcome.

YDSTIE: NPR's Jason Beaubien in Tripoli, Libya.

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