Tripoli, March 13 (IANS) Pro-Gaddafi forces Sunday managed to clear Libya’s eastern town of Brega from the grip of the rebels, Libya’s official TV channel citied a military source as saying.
Libya has been witnessing protests since mid February against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s nearly 42-year rule. According to an estimate over 6,000 have been killed in the clashes between anti-government and pro-goverment groups.
Brega has been purged of “the armed gangs”, Xinhua quoted the source as telling to the TV channel in a report.
Dozens of rebels withdrew from the town amid heavy shelling launched by government forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi, said Al-Arabiya news network in a report.
The rebels’ abandonment of Brega occurred after they lost the town of Ras Lanuf, 615 km southeast of the capital Tripoli, which could be seen as a major setback for opposition forces.
A week ago, rebels had reportedly recaptured the eastern half of the country and were planning for moving to Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte on their way to the capital.