NALUT, Libya (AFP) – Several towns in western Libya have been taken by opposition forces, which are now preparing to march on the capital, a member of a revolutionary committee told AFP in the town of Nalut.
An AFP reporter arriving in Nalut, a town of 66,000 people, 235 kilometres (146 miles) west of Tripoli, found that strongman Moamer Kadhafi’s loyalist security forces had entirely disappeared from the streets.
“The city has been liberated since February 19. It has been run by a revolutionary committee named by the town’s communities,” local lawyer and committee member Shaban Abu Sitta told AFP.
“The towns of Rhibat, Kabaw, Jado, Rogban, Zentan, Yefren, Kekla, Gherien and Hawamed have also been free for days. In all these towns, Kadhafi’s forces have gone and a revolutionary committee put in place,” he said.
“We have placed ourselves under the authority of the interim government in Benghazi,” he explained, referring to the opposition shadow regime formed by former justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil in the east of the country.
“Along with all the free towns on the mountain of Djebel Nafusa and those on the other side of the mountain, we are preparing forces to march on Tripoli and liberate the capital from Kadhafi’s yoke,” Abu Sitta said.
The AFP journalists travelled to Nalut from the Tunisian border, 60 kilometres away, among the first Western reporters to cross Libya’s western frontier since the uprising against Kadhafi began.
Confirmation that western Libya is also slipping from the veteran leader’s grasp, came as the protest leaders that have driven his forces from the east of the country established a transitional “national council”.