Gadhafi Forces Pound Libyan Rebels In Misrata

Originally published on April 18, 2011 6:31 am
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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Good morning.

MONTAGNE: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: What is happening in the city right now?

MONTAGNE: But for the past few days there have been barrages of between 50 to 80 rockets a day, especially on the port area, which is the last point of entry or exit for the city, because on the land side it's completely surrounded. So people can only get supplies in - food, medicine, and even weapons - from the port.

MONTAGNE: And we're hearing reports of many civilian deaths, children and old people, because these barrages are in a sense random.

MONTAGNE: If you've got moderate injuries - say, a broken leg - they can bandage you up and take you out, but these people with massive trauma, they can't move them. So they said that all those people are probably going to die.

MONTAGNE: Is there any escape route from Misrata other than the sea?

MONTAGNE: No. No. And the sea is a fairly uncertain escape route itself. We came in with the IOM, the International Office for Migration, which is an inter-governmental agency. They are doing one trip at a time with one ship that has about a thousand capacity. So yesterday when we came in, there were thousands of refugees trying to get out. Most of them were North Africans, Egyptians, foreign migrant workers who have been trapped here. Their way was actually blocked by Libyans trying to get out, who were saying that we have the right to get out as well. So it's a very desperate situation.

MONTAGNE: May I ask just briefly - what happens if Misrata falls to the Gadhafi forces?

MONTAGNE: People don't hold out any hope that if they surrender, then that will be treated as prisoners of war.

MONTAGNE: Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us.

MONTAGNE: Thank you.

MONTAGNE: We've been talking to James Hider of the Times of London, who is in Misrata, Libya. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.