LIBYA: Fighters loot and burn on outskirts of Kadafi's hometown

 
Abu Hadi

REPORTING FROM ABU HADI, LIBYA -- Forces loyal to Libya's transitional leaders looted and burned homes Wednesday in the recently captured village of Abu Hadi, on the outskirts of Moammar Kadafi's home city, Surt.

Smoke rose into the air as fighters, mostly from the western Libyan city of Misurata, threw gas bombs and grenades into abandoned homes in the village, where most residents are members of the ousted leader's Kadafa tribe.

Whooping and toting guns, fighters from Misurata towed away a Ford Mustang from a garage. Other fighters loaded a late-model Chevrolet onto the back of a truck.

Libya's new leaders have urged fighters not to engage in looting and recriminatory assaults. But Misurata suffered greatly during the war and officials have conceded that reining in their fighters has been difficult.

“The Misurata brigades are taking their revenge for what soldiers originally from this village did to them,” said Fatih Shobash, 22, a fighter with an eastern rebel brigade that was also taking part in the offensive against Surt. “They are burning houses, stealing gold and shooting animals."

In the village, elderly men waited in a garage, protecting their nearby homes.

"Rebels from Misurata came to patrol the houses;  they took weapons and stole mine and my neighbor’s car,” said Muftah Gaddadfa, 60. “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.”

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-- Ruth Sherlock. Patrick J. McDonnell in Beirut contributed to this report.

Photo: Anti-Kadafi fighters celebrate after taking Abu Hadi, a village near Surt, Libya, on Oct. 4, 2011. Credit: Bela Szandelszky / Assocoated Press

 
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