Eight British soldiers have been captured in eastern Libya as they escorted a senior diplomat through territory under the control of revolutionary forces.
According to a report published by The Sunday Times, the unexpected presence of a British special forces unit along with the diplomat “angered Libyan opposition figures, who ordered the soldiers to be locked up on a military base.”
The Britons have reportedly been taken to Benghazi in eastern Libya. The diplomat they were protecting had wanted to contact the anti-government forces.
The British newspaper added that anti-government forces “fear Muammar Gaddafi could use any evidence of Western military interference to rally patriotic support for his regime.”
On Saturday, Gaddafi said he wanted the United Nations or the African Union to investigate the anti-government protests in the country.
On the same day, pro-Gaddafi forces backed by tanks launched an assault on Zawiyah, 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of the capital Tripoli, firing heavy mortar rounds at houses and attacking a hospital.
The clashes began hours after revolutionary forces repelled an effort by government forces to retake the city.
Reports by human rights groups say over 6,000 people have been killed so far in the government’s harsh crackdown on anti-government protesters.
The Libyan revolution came in the wake of the monumental events in Tunisia and Egypt, where dictators who led undemocratic and repressive regimes were driven out of power.
However, Gaddafi does not want to see the writing on the wall, and the bloody conflict in Libya drags on.
Waves of demonstrations have rocked several other Middle Eastern and North African countries in recent weeks.
- Eight SAS men in undercover mission are seized in Libya – by the rebel forces they went to help (dailymail.co.uk)
- Eight SAS men in undercover mission are seized – by the rebel forces they went to help (dailymail.co.uk)