Libyan rebels plead -- send us guns
Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:30pm
By Angus MacSwan
BENGHAZI, Libya, March 24 (Reuters) - Libyan rebels desperately need arms and ammunition from foreign countries -- especially weapons to knock out tanks -- to bolster their struggle against Muammar Gaddafi, a rebel military spokesman said on Thursday.
But they do not want foreign advisers or troops to intervene on their behalf, said Colonel Ahmed Bani, an air force officer who has joined the rebels based in the eastern city of Benghazi.
"We need arms and ammunition. This is our only problem," he said in a briefing. "Our friends are trying to support us. I hope soon we will have success and we will have all the weapons we need to liberate Libya."
Top of the list was anti-tank weapons to halt the heavy armour that has spearheaded the government attacks against rebel forces in eastern Libya and towns in the west. Communications equipment was also badly needed, he said.
A number of countries had promised material aid, he said, but he declined to name any of them.
"Everyone who loves freedom would love to help us. It is an endless chain of names," he said.
The rebel army, made up largely of young, untrained volunteers, was pushed back to Benghazi by Gaddafi's forces at the weekend but the city was rescued when foreign warplanes struck them for the first time.
Allied planes have since pounded targets across Libya, severely damaging Gaddafi's defences, but the rebels are stuck on a frontline at Ajdabiyah in the east while in the west the government is besieging Misrata and other towns.
Foreign governments are debating what kind of further support, if any, they should offer. But Bani, echoing other rebel officials, ruled out accepting any advisers or trainers to whip the disorganised fighters into shape.
"Our culture does not accept foreign troops on our soil. The only foreign expert we have is Google Earth," he said.
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