Libya rebels reach deal with residents of pro-Gaddafi town
Libyan rebels have struck a deal on Tuesday with delegates from the town of Bani Walid, controlled by loyalists of fugitive leader Moamer Gaddafi, to enter it without fighting, dpa reported.
A delegation from the rebels met with a group from the town to discuss how they will enter and ensure taking control of the city will be peacefully.
"We will prepare our weapons and carry them with us to scare any one who plans to fight, but we have no intention to fight," one of the rebels said during the meeting, that was broadcast live on Al-Jazeera channel.
"We have not come to take revenge and will not mistreat the people," he added.
The delegation from Bani Walid said that almost 90 per cent of residents support ending the standoff peacefully.
"While many cities and smaller communities enjoy relative security, pro-Gaddafi forces are still present in varying degrees in the areas of Bani Walid, Sirte, near the Al Jufrah oasis and the region of Sebha," NATO military spokesman Colonel Roland Lavoie said in Naples.
Lavoie added that capabilities of the Gaddafi forces are degraded, mercenaries are fleeing and that many former regime leaders and military commanders are abandoning their followers.
Rebels believe that at least one high-profile Gaddafi loyalist is hiding in the town, located around 180 kilometres south-east of Tripoli.