Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Libya's new leaders declare liberation

----------------------------------------------------------Benghazi, Libya (CNN) -- Libya's interim leaders declared the nation's freedom Sunday, ushering in a new era after the death of longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi."Libyan lands have now been completely liberated," said Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, vice chairman of Libya's National Transitional Council.

Cheering crowds packed a central square in Benghazi Sunday afternoon for a ceremony that leaders said formally marked victory after eight months of fighting.
"We are now united. We have become brothers in love," said Mustafa Jalil, the council's chairman.
He called on Libyans to have "honesty, patience and tolerance" as the nation moves toward reconciliation.
The location of Sunday's ceremony was significant. Uprisings against Gadhafi's regime began in Benghazi in February.
Audience members carried signs, waved flags and batted around balloons. As leaders spoke, the sound of celebratory machine-gun fire filled the air.
Officials urged Libyans to lay down their arms, but not to let down their guard.
"Our people have achieved this freedom by the blood of our brothers, sisters and martyrs. Freedom is great and it's got a great price. It is costly. So turn your teeth into nails and bite on it very hard. Because preserving it is more difficult than attaining it," one military official said at the ceremony.
Earlier Sunday, doctors completed Gadhafi's autopsy at a Misrata hospital, with the chief pathologist confirming the former strongman died Thursday of a gunshot wound to the head.
Dr. Othman el-Zentani, the pathologist, did not disclose additional findings.

Mutassim and his former defense minister, Abu Baker Yunis.As Libya now faces the arduous task of building a new society after 42 years of Gadhafi's rule, the NTC said it will hold elections in the coming months.
Zentani said the three bodies would likely return to the cold storage unit at a Misrata meat market where people lined up to view the corpses over the weekend.
Mahmoud Jibril, the chairman of the National Transitional Council executive board, put the timetable "within a period of eight months, maximum."
The first vote will be for a national Congress that will draft a constitution. After that, parliamentary and presidential elections will be held.
Already, some signs of improvement have emerged.
Jibril said that oil-rich Libya is currently producing about 300,000 barrels per day, up from near zero during the depths of the eight-month Libyan conflict.
The country should be back at its prewar output of 1.6 million barrels of oil per day within 15 months, he said.
But even as some Libyans celebrated liberation Sunday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it had visited thousands of newly arrested people in the battle-scarred nation, where committee representatives observed more than 30,000 displaced people, mass graves and nearly abandoned cities. More than 7,000 detainees are held in about 50 places throughout the country, the committee reported.

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