For 41 years Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been secreting away weapons in underground bunkers in the city of Benghazi. But these were not weapons meant for Gaddafi’s regular army, which the eccentric dictator never trusted, but rather for Gaddafi’s Special Forces used mostly to oppress his own people.
Rebels In Control
Now the tables have turned, and the almost antique weapons are in the hands of the rebels. In the last week of February rebels stormed the various military compounds in the city of Benghazi. One of the tank commanders that led the attack, Colonel Mohammed Samir al-Abar described the way he pushed his tank through the outer wall of the compound, allowing rebel soldiers as well as civilians to storm the fortress. With just Molotov cocktails, rocks and swords the rebels overran Gaddafi’s compound; the regular Libyan army being unequipped with weapons to defend Gaddafi properly.
Old Weapons Still Deadly
One reserve soldier who has joined the rebel forces, Adel Mustafa, described the old weapons that the rebels found. “It’s dirty, outdated equipment, but it works. Ninety percent are Russian made, but there’s a Chinese 107 mm multiple rocket launcher behind you. Before the people captured these cannons, the regime was using them against people. Take a look at the size of the ammunition. They were designed to be used against planes, but Gaddafi used them to kill Libyans. When this bullet hits a human being it shatters him.”
Marching on Tripoli
It is not known exactly how much ammunition and weaponry the rebels now control but it seems to be a certainty that the weapons will be used soon, to march on Tripoli to oust Colonel Gaddafi.
“I think there will be massive fighting if we go to Tripoli,” said Salem Abdelhassid El Dressy, a 41-year-old accountant who volunteered on Tuesday. “I hope to god I am wrong, but I am ready to fight. We all want to go to Tripoli to get rid of Gaddafi.”