Residents of a small Libyan town, just 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Tripoli, who took up arms against Moamer Kadhafi's regime were said to be under siege on Saturday.

A representative from Al-Qusbat's rebel military committee told AFP that the town was now surrounded by Kadhafi's forces and fears are growing of an imminent bloodbath.

"All roads going to Al-Qusbat are blocked by Kadhafi's forces. They cut electricity and communications since yesterday," Khamis Nuri el-Kasseh said from Benghazi after contacting the town by satellite phone.

"Kadhafi's forces are not yet in control of the town, but we expect it will be bloody today," he said, adding there had already been a series of arrests in suburbs.

Al-Qusbat is cut off from other rebel positions in the west of Libya, with 70 kilometres (45 miles) separating it from the nearest positions at Zliten to the east.