TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — On the anniversary of the capture and killing of Moammar Gadhafi, Libya is still grappling with the legacy of his four decades of rule as the interim government and the dictator’s former spokesman engaged in a war of words amid the ongoing chaos.
The Libyan government said Saturday that its forces had detained Gadhafi’s high profile spokesman Moussa Ibrahim, but an online recording from a man purporting to be Ibrahim denied that claim and said he wasn’t even in the country.
The conflicting reports, neither of which could be independently verified, reflect the turmoil that has persisted over the past year, leaving the oil-rich North African nation deeply divided. Tensions have spiked as rival forces battle over the city of Bani Walid.
Bani Walid, some 140 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Tripoli, was the last major city in Libya to fall to the uprising, thanks in part to its protected location in a valley near the mountains. Over the past year, it has seen periodic violence and emerged as the most significant town in Libya still resisting the country’s new authorities since Gadhafi was slain near his hometown of Sirte last year.
“We’ve lost too many people in Bani Walid and we are still losing them so I don’t think it’s time for a celebration,” said Abdessalem Mahfoud, a local neighborhood council member in Tripoli, when asked about the anniversary of Gadhafi’s death.