Libya: Death Toll Rises As Protests Spread

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Protesters in Libya have vowed to continue even as death toll has risen from 200 to over 233 this morning with the protests spreading to different parts of the Magreb Arab nation.

Thousands of Libyans trooped into the streets of Tripoli, the capital city and other cities protesting harsh economic conditions and high rate of unemployment.

According to American Cable News Network, CNN, report monitored in Lagos this morning, the protesters  attacked government buildings and setting them on fire. The rampage also affected the television station.

They are also planning to target disruption of oil installations which might reduce production.

Libya produces two per cent of world’s crude oil and she is the biggest supplier to Europe.

Two North African nations, Egypt and Tunisia recently witnessed mass protests leading to the exit of their leaders. The protesters said they intend to achieve a similar feat in Libya.

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But the fate of the country continued to hang in the balance as there had been no official response from ageing and ailing Libyan leader Moamer Ghaddafi.

However, one of the leader’s sons, Saif al-Islam warned of a chaotic civil war if the citizens should take sides with anti-government demonstrators.

Saif al-Islam said: “We can speak rationally, we can spare the blood, we can stand all together for the sake of Libya. But if the unrest continues, forget about democracy, forget about reform. It will be a fierce civil war.”

He accused the anti-government elements of sedition. He criticised the international media for overstating the extent of the violence but acknowledged the police and the military making some mistakes in handling the unrest.

Moamar Ghaddafi, 69, has been the leader of Libya for about 42 years. He came to power in 1969 through a military putsch and has since remained in power. Old age related ailments have made him to be inactive recently but his sons are more visible in governance and in the public.

—Herientta Ikhile       with Agency Report