Libya: protests escalate in Benghazi; Qaddafi-loyalists take Bani Walid?

The deputy head of Libya’s National Transitional Council stepped down Jan. 22, a day after anti-government protesters stormed the ruling body’s offices in the eastern city of Benghazi. The protesters denounced Ghoga’s presence in the NTC, calling him and other former Qaddafi-loyalists “opportunists.” Ghoga was a belated defector to the Libyan rebels from Moammar Qaddafi’s government. (VOA, Jan. 22) The following day, a flurry of media reports said that Qaddafi-loyalist fighters had taken the former Qaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid, raising the late dictator’s green flag after a battle that left four dead. But on Jan. 24, Col. Salem al-Ouaer, identified as a tribal leader from Bani Walid, told AFP: “The situation is under control and calm is returning.” (AFP, Jan. 24; The Guardian, Jan. 23)

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