Rebels take oil town

TAHRIR Square in downtown Benghazi erupted with chants of ‘God is Great’ last night as news was broadcast live that rebel soldiers had taken the key town of Braga from Gadaffi’s forces.

Control of the oil town 300km west of the rebel stronghold Benghazi has swapped hands several times between the two sides with rebel leaders claiming to have taken the town before only to later admit it was still in the hands of Gadaffi loyalists.

The fall of the oil refinery into rebel hands will put further pressure on the capital Tripoli where reports of fuel shortages are rife while giving a much needed boost to Benghazi which is experiencing fuel shortages with long queues at petrol stations.

At a recent demonstration  in Tahrir (Freedom) Square in Benghazi thousands of people called for western countries to transfer control of Libyan money and assets to the temporary government, the National Transitional Council, to buy desperately needed supplies including fuel, food and medicine and to pay public sector workers.

The news comes as the US and more than 30 other countries recognised the NTC as the official authority of the North African state allowing it to borrow money on the back of future revenues.

Ismail El-Faltouri, from Benghazi, said: “Braga is very important for us. I work for the electrical company and we need gas from Braga for our power stations.”

Mr El-Faltouri also said the victory will lead to more victories over Gadaff’s troops further along the coast.

He said: “After Braga we will now take the next town and then Surt [Gadaffi’s hometown] and then we are going to Tripoli believe me.”

But he dismissed Gadaffi’s threat to blow up the capital if the rebels attempt to take it saying “the people of Tripoli will stop him”.

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