Going, going,.....Gaddafi. But business going on.
MUAMMAR GADDAFI has appeared on Libyan TV to disprove rumours sustained among others by British Foreign Secretary William Hague that he had fled the country. Venezuela had already denied that he was there. But with the Libyan dictator already dependent on foreign mercenaries, and air strikes ordered against his own people, how much longer can his regime prolong Libya's agony by trying to cling on?
Over 400 people have reportedly been killed already in Libya. Not much reliable news is being allowed to leak out, but two Libyan jets and some helicopters landed in Malta yesterday, with air force officers -two said to be colonels - saying they had fled after refusing orders to bomb civilians.
There were reports of air strikes on two places near Tripoli, Misurata and Azawiya, and even on suburbs of the capital itself. The two planes in Malta may have been those sent to Benghazi to carry out similar attacks before deciding to defect.
Much of Benghazi had reportedly already been taken over by rebels, with some army units coming over to the people. In Tripoli itself some districts were barricaded, as residents prepared to resist foreign mercenaries rampaging through the streets shooting people.
Today's Guardian quotes Ali Zeidan, of the Libyan League of Human Rights, in Munich: "Protesters gathered for very big street demonstrations. Then at 3am, forces came without any warning and started shooting live ammunition into the crowd. Some of the demonstrators ran, others fell. There were about 60 killed and around 130 injured. It wasn't the police, it wasn't the army, it was Gaddafi's elite guard assisted by paid foreign African fighters.
Souhayr Belhassen, head of the International Federation of Human Rights, said she had gathered accounts from Tunisians and others who had left Libya, describing how property belonging to Gaddafi had been attacked and police stations set alight. "The revolt is heading to the capital," she said. She said senior figures including ambassadors and security forces, were abandoning Gaddafi. "They have jumped ship and the boat is sinking," she said.