By Maha Ellawati.
Benghazi, 24 October:
General Yusuf Mangoush joined with senior officers from the national army and police, together with a number . . .[restrict]of Benghazi residents, to celebrate the first anniversary of Libya’s liberation yesterday.
The event took place at the special forces’ Thunderbolt military base in the Abu-Atni area of Benghazi.
Amidst a display by Mig-31 and Mig-23 jets from the air force’s Sky Eagles, together with the arrival of a parachutist, Mangoush marked the occasion by congratulating the Libyan people on their achievement in freeing the country from 42 years of Qaddafi’s rule.
“A year has now passed since the declaration of Libya’s liberation, a year of challenges in which our country has gone through many difficulties, obstacles and hardship which almost destroyed the country,” Mangoush said.
“But thanks to God, first and foremost, and to the will, determination, resolution of our revolutionaries and to the awareness and wisdom used by Libyans to combat all these challenges throughout this year, our country has managed to come out of all safe and sound. However, these challenges still and will remain because our journey is still long, but we can always depend on our people’s will and consciousness in all times to come.
“We must pass the stage of the war of liberation and work hard to swiftly create a legitimate authority elected by the people and I hope that the next year we will be seeing a complete establishment of state institutions as well as state sovereignty and the prevailing of safety and security throughout Libya”, he added.
Several hundred miles to the west, however, a battle still raged between forces notionally under the authority of Mangoush and fighters from the hill-town of Bani Walid. The conflict has drawn criticism from numerous quarters on account of the large number of civilian casualties incurred, but is viewed by many Libyans as the final chapter of a revolution supposed to have ended exactly one year to the day since yesterday’s celebrations. [/restrict]