Manchester

Manchester man joins Libyan rebels' fight

A Manchester-based Libyan who returned home to support the rebel army after watching the crisis on television is "ready to die", he told the BBC.

Despite having no military experience, 28-year-old Rashad said he had to go to help oppose Colonel Gaddafi's regime.

"It was a very emotional moment when I sympathised with those civilians who were getting killed," he added.

Anecdotal evidence from other Libyans in Manchester suggest others from the city have also joined the rebels.

The city is believed to be home to the biggest community of Libyan ex-pats in the UK.

Rashad said: "I've got brothers and sisters in this country, I understood how desperate they were to be free and to end this evil regime of Gaddafi.

"My blood was boiling when I saw children and women killed and I saw Eman al-Obaidi, who was raped by Gaddafi's soldiers and mercenaries, by 15 of them, and I cannot take it, I cannot sit back, I have to do something.

"At least I will be happy if Libya will be liberated, I will be delighted.

"If I died for the sake of this country I would be even more delighted."

Rashad said he had not told his family he had gone to Libya. Both his parents are Libyan but live in Manchester.

"Honestly they don't know. I've come here for Libya, not only for my family, to help this nation to get what it deserves," he said.

"Things like freedom, democracy and human rights, they are basic demands or needs for any society."

Saad Latif, from Old Trafford, has been in touch with his friend and told the BBC the former masters student had been determined to travel out to Libya.

The 51-year-old said his friend, who is a British citizen, was just one of many young Libyan men - both at home and abroad - who had travelled to Benghazi to support the rebels.

"He's not trained and I am very concerned for some of those youngsters that we see on television because they put themselves in situations that they shouldn't," he said.

"I think he's sensible enough not to be on the front line. He's a very good organiser, he's an intelligent man. I would think he would be now helping within Benghazi, organising things and helping people.

"There is nothing in Benghazi at the moment, there are only youngsters like him who are helping the public to resume life as normal."

Back in Libya, Rashad told the BBC he hoped to be able to contribute to the fight.

"There are things probably I can help with on the ground, plus helping others, rescuing injured people, I am positive there is something I can do on the ground," he said.

"I would defend myself and my country but I am not here to kill, I am here to liberate Libya."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites