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Libya’s transitional forces burn, loot village homes near Gaddafi’s birthplace

Tripoli, Oct 6 (ANI): Forces loyal to Libya’s transitional leaders looted and burned civilian homes on Wednesday in the recently captured village of Abu Hadi, near ousted ruler Muammar Gaddafi’s besieged tribal homeland of Surt.

Smoke spires were noticed after fighters, mostly from the western city of Misurata, threw gasoline bombs and grenades into abandoned homes in the village, a center for Gaddafi’s tribe, the Kadafa, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Libya’s new transitional government has urged fighters not to engage in looting and recriminatory assaults. Misurata had suffered greatly during the war, and officials have conceded that reining in its fierce and revenge-minded fighters has been difficult.

“The Misurata brigades are taking their revenge for what soldiers originally from this village did to them. They are burning houses, stealing gold and shooting animals,” a fighter from an eastern-based brigade that was also taking part in the offensive against Surt, said.

The capture of Abu Hadi, a desert scrubland about 12 miles south of Surt that was overrun in recent days after fierce fighting, has been a symbolic victory for the forces of the transitional government.

This is reportedly the village where Gaddafi was born in 1942, though Surt has often been referred to as his birthplace.

A paramedic who worked with the revolutionaries returned to find his home in Abu Hadi ransacked and his father, a former officer in Kadafi’s military, missing, possibly detained by anti-Kadafi forces. The paramedic, who declined to give his name for fear of recrimination, said he had gone from one detention facility to another looking for his father, so far without finding him.

The paper quoted a paramedic as saying that he arrived at the newly “liberated” area and found his home a mess.

Another resident said: “Rebels from Misurata came to patrol the houses, they took weapons, and stole mine and my neighbor’s car. They came three times in one day, shooting bullets into the walls of our houses and breaking cupboards. They did this in front of our women and children.” (ANI)