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‘We have defeated fear and we’re not going back now’

Wanted by the Libyan regime, Muftah Lamlum has not set foot in his home country for 37 years.

Wanted by the Libyan regime, Muftah Lamlum has not set foot in his home country for 37 years.

“Enough is enough. We defeated fear and we are not going back,” Muftah Lamlum, Libyan National Movement general secretary, said in light of the gradual collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s hold on Libya.

The Libyan National Movement, set up in the early 1970s, is one of the earliest groups formed to oppose Col Gaddafi’s regime.

“The people in Libya have defeated fear,” Mr Lamlum, who lives in the UK, said enthusiastically. “People are full of confidence and hope, and believe Gaddafi is gone.”

Around 3,500 people die in traffic accidents every year in Libya. “For the liberation of Libya, people are willing to pay more than that in lives and blood,” he added.

Mr Lamlum, one of whose brothers lives in Malta, insisted Libyan people deserved freedom after 42 years of oppression, killings and disappearances.

His brother Jamal, a fourth-year medical student, was snatched from his home in Tripoli 23 years ago. He has not been seen since.

Mr Lamlum has been living in the UK for the past 41 years. Wanted by the Libyan regime, he feared for his life even in “safe London”. Nonetheless, he was very optimistic about a democratic future for Libya.

“The fever of revolution is spreading in the Middle East. All Arabs are asking for is a chance to live as human beings.”

People in Libya told The Times that most towns around Tripoli, including Misurata, Zawiya, Zlitan and Tahuna had been taken over by the opposition.

When members of Col Gaddafi’s regime attacked Misurata on Thursday, citizens rebelled and the police were defeated, one protester said.

The regime would never be able to occupy Misurata or Zawiya, another witness said. It was now confined to Tripoli and Bab al-Aziziya, and there were pockets of resistance even within the city itself. The regime had even lost total control on some parts of Tripoli, the witness added.

Protesters in Zawiya and Sabrataha managed to get hold of weapons from the army barracks to defend themselves.

Mr Lamlum said Col Gaddafi was no longer interested in Zawiya, Sabratha and Tahuna. The opposition had taken over the military base and the Airforce College in Misurata.

He said people were planning “to storm Tripoli” in the coming days and would hold huge demonstrations.

“The regime is a small part of Libya. The regime is finished now. We have no doubt about the fact that Gaddafi is finished. It’s a matter of days until Gaddafi becomes history,” Mr Lamlum said enthusiastically.

Demonstration in solidarity with Libyan people

A demonstration in solidarity with the Libyan people will take place today at 10.30 a.m. starting at City Gate, Valletta.

Maltese are being urged to attend to show their condemnation of the violence being used on those protesting against the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Libyans living in Malta have been demonstrating outside the Libyan embassy in Balzan since Monday.

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