Columns of Libyan NTC fighters and vehicles withdrew chaotically from Bani Walid at dusk after hours of fierce fighting ended inconclusively and pro-Qaddafi forces continued to shell their positions in and around the city, Reuters witnesses said, as the U.N. General Assembly gave Libya’s U.N. seat to the NTC.
“We have received orders to retreat. We have been hit by many rockets. We will come back later,” ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) fighter, Assad al-Hamuri, told Reuters as he fled from the frontline.
“We need to reorganize troops and stock up on ammunition. We are waiting for orders to go back in again,” said NTC fighter Saraj Abdelrazaq
The atmosphere was frantic and shouting matches erupted among the anti-Qaddafi fighters as their forces poured out of the city amid heavy bursts of rocket fire from Qaddafi forces.
The U.N. General Assembly, meanwhile, gave Libya’s U.N. seat to the National Transitional Council which toppled Qaddafi, according to AFP.
The 193-member assembly voted 114 to 17 to let representatives of the council take over Libya’s U.N. mission in the face of opposition from left-wing Latin American governments. Some African nations called for a decision to be postponed.
The move allows interim government leader, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, to attend next week’s UN gathering of world leaders in New York. Jalil is to meet U.S. President Barack Obama and other key leaders on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
A group made up of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and other left-leaning governments sought a vote to stop the NTC getting the U.N. seat.
Venezuela’s ambassador, Jorge Valero, called Libya’s rebel leadership “a group under the guidance of the United States and NATO which has no legal or moral authority.”
The Southern African Development Community had called for a decision to be deferred to get more information on events in Libya.