Saturday, September 24, 2011

Qaddafi enlists new 12,000-strong army of Tuareg tribal fighters

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 24, 2011, 6:12 PM (GMT+02:00)

Muammar Qaddafi and his sons have raised a new army of 12,000 soldiers - all fighters of loyal Tuareg tribes of the Sahara, debkafile’s military sources report.

Hundreds of kilometers to the north, Libyan rebel troops clashed with Qaddafi loyalists in his home town of Sirte after reportedly entering the town from the west. Although rebel ranks are seriously divided, they derived encouragement from NATO's decision to extend its naval and air campaign in Libya by another 90 days to help them dislodge Qaddafi's troops from the cities they are still holding.
Saturday, Sept. 24, his daughter Aisha said in an audio recording that her father was in high spirits and fighting alongside his supporters. Last week, our sources report, a Tuareg tribal council convened in Niger extended full protection to Qaddafi, his sons, his military chiefs and the still-loyal members of the ousted regime. Members of the rebel National Transitional Council were proclaimed enemies of the tribes.

Three days earlier, the NTC claimed the capture of the southern desert town of Sabha, even though they only reached its outskirts.
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