Libyan fighter tells of joy at Gaddafi’s death

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By Neil Pooran

 

Ragab Ballali praised David Cameron's role in the conflict

A SCOTTISH bouncer who went to fight with Libyan revolutionaries against Col Gaddafi’s regime has spoken of his joy on hearing the dictator has been killed.

Ragab Ballali, who grew up in Edinburgh, was injured while fighting Gaddafi loyalists in Sirte and is now recovering from his wounds in Tunisia.

But he thinks Libya still has difficult days ahead, despite the end of the Colonel’s 42-year-long rule.

Speaking from a hotel in Tunisia where injured anti-Gaddafi fighters are staying, the 36-year-old said: “I feel elated and relieved. A lot of people have died in this war, there has been too much blood spilled for one man.

“It’s not over, but the hardest part is over. Libya is a very new country with no political experience. So there’s going to be problems along the way, but it’s a great country and will pull through.

“I think people who suffered under him would want to get some closure with a trial, and it would’ve been a lot better to have a trial.

“But hopefully they will be content that he is no longer a threat.”

Party

Ballali, from Wester Hailes, had no military training, but spent months on the front line in the conflict.

He said he is not fluent in Arabic, so was only sure that Gaddafi was dead when seeing pictures of the dead dictator on his hotel TV.

He is looking forward to coming back to Britain, but will first travel to Libya to meet up with fighters from his old unit to join the celebrations.

Their barracks are in Benghazi, one of the first cities to rise up against the old Libyan regime.

“If I don’t need any further treatment I’ll go back to Benghazi and have a great big party,” he said.

“I’ve spoken to people there today, the reaction is just full joy.

There are fireworks in the sky, parties are going to going to go on all night right through town.”

The former Drummond Community High School pupil, who was shot in the arm by a sniper minutes after being wounded in an RPG attack, also spoke of how the experience of joining the revolution changed him personally.

Wound

He said: “I’m proud of the man I’ve become.

“It’s an experience that changed me a lot. I’m more aware of life and death and more aware of the fragility of life. It makes you a lot more philosophical.

“I don’t want to go back to the empty, selfish life I had.”

He was taken to Tunisia for treatment for his wounded arm, which left him unable to hold a weapon.

Two men standing near him were killed in the rocket propelled grenade  attack, which struck a building in Sirte he was in. He was shot as he stumbled across a street to try and find help.

He praised David Cameron’s role in the conflict: “I think David Cameron has done a brilliant job, though I know a lot of the public in Britain won’t like it. If Britain, France and the US hadn’t got involved there would have been a lot of dead civilians. A lot of innocent people would have been killed.

“I think it’s the first thing David Cameron has done right.”

 

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