Gaddafi urges end to 'masquerade' rebellion | world | Hindustan Times
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Gaddafi urges end to 'masquerade' rebellion

world Updated: Aug 21, 2011 07:58 IST

AFP
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Libya's embattled strongman Muammar Gaddafi on Sunday urged his supporters to "march by the millions" and end a months-long uprising which he termed a "masquerade", as rebel forces closed in on Tripoli.

"We have to put an end to this masquerade. You must march by the millions to free the destroyed towns" controlled by the rebels, he said in an audio message carried on state television.

Calling the rebels "agents, traitors and rats," Gaddafi said, "These scum enter mosques to cry 'God is Greater'. They are dirty. They are defiling the mosques."

Earlier, a resident of the seaside capital said cries of Allahu Akbar could be heard from mosques in the city's eastern sectors.

Gaddafi accused French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country is helping to lead Nato-coordinated air strikes on the strongman's military assets, of recruiting the rebels as "agents" to steal Libya's vast oil wealth.

"To win the upcoming elections, he wants to be able to say to his people: 'Here, I'm offering you Libyan oil' and this is going to be achieved with the help of traitors.

"But the Libyan people will not allow France to take its oil or leave Libya to the hands of traitors," he said. "The youths of Tripoli kiss my photo. They love their leader and regard him as their father."

Rebels have closed in on Tripoli, Gaddafi's bastion, by claiming a third key city in 24 hours yesterday and predicted his 42-year-old rule was on its last legs.