Thousands flee Gaddafi’s wrath.
MADMAN Muammar Gaddafi yesterday ordered his followers to kill the protesters fighting to oust him.
The crazed dictator fanned the flames of the conflict tearing his country apart with a ranting, hour-long TV speech that sounded like a declaration of civil war.
As Gaddafi spoke, Foreign Secretary William Hague announced the beginning of efforts to evacuate Britons trapped in the chaos.
Gaddafi’s regime looks to be falling to pieces as army leaders, ministers, diplomats, tribal chiefs and millions of his people turn against him.
Even as he spoke Libya’s interior minister and justice minister had joined the uprising.
But he was a picture of defiance, shouting and banging his fist on the podium in front of him, as he urged supporters to take bloody revenge on the democracy campaigners.
“You men and women who love Gaddafi – come out of your homes, attack them in their dens,” he said.
“They are drugging your children.
They are making your children drunk and sending them into hell.”
Gaddafi triued to protray his opponents as Islamic extremists, claiming: “Libya wants chaos, beards and turbans.”
“Fighting will carry on street by street until Libyan soil is liberated,” he vowed. “The protesters are serving the devil.”
Gaddafi’s forces have already killed hundreds of Libyans as they try in vain to crush the week-old uprising.
The regime has attacked civilians with warplanes, helicopter gunships, heavy machine guns and anti-aircraft cannons. Estimates of the death toll range from 250 to more than 800.
But in his speech, pre-recorded and broadcast to supporters in Tripoli’s Green Square, Gaddafi claimed: “I have not yet ordered one bullet to be fired. When I do, everything will burn.”
Gaddafi said he would not stand down like the leaders of his nearest neighbours, Egypt and Tunisia, had been forced to do.
“I am a warrior,” he added. “I am a fighter, a revolutionary from tents. I am not going to leave this land. I will die a martyr at the end.”
Gaddafi can no longer rely on large sections of his army, who have sided with the protesters.
But witnesses say he has hired French-speaking heavies from sub-Saharan Africa and there are claims of Russian mercenaries on the streets.
The gangs have killed scores of people in the capital in clashes on Sunday and Monday nights.
Witnesses claim helicopter gunships fired into crowds of demonstrators, and planes dropped “small bombs”.
One man told CNN: “They have been using aerial tactics, along with men on the ground, to disperse and shoot indiscriminately into crowds.”
Another Libyan, who gave his name only as Ali, said: “We knew Gaddafi was crazy but it’s still a terrible shock to see him turning mercenaries on his own people. He has no limits.”
Much of the oil-rich east of Libya, including the second city of Benghazi and the towns of al-Bayda and Tobruk, is in opposition hands.
And last night, interior minister Abdel Fattah Younis signalled the extent of the regime’s breakdown by announcing he had defected.
Speaking in Benghazi, Younis, who has been an ally of Gaddafi since his 1969 coup and commands the powerful Thunderbolt commando brigade, urged other troops to join the revolt.
“I gave up all my posts in response to the February 17 Revolution and my conviction that it has just demands,” he said.
A former army major claimed: “All the eastern regions are out of Gaddafi’s control now. The people and the army are hand in hand here.”
But while Benghazi celebrated, fear stalked the streets of Tripoli as night fell yesterday and residents waited for the pro-Gaddafi forces’ return.
One man in his 50s said residents of his neighbourhood were piling up roadblocks of concrete, bricks and wood to try to slow attackers.
The night before, he said, buses unloaded militia in several locations.
Others swooped in vehicles with guns mounted on the top, opening fire at anyone they could see, including people watching from windows.
“One family had a four-year-old who was shot and killed on a balcony in the eastern part of the city,” he said.
One of the heaviest battlegrounds was the slum district of Fashloum. T here, militiamen shot ambulances so the wounded were left in the streets to die, one resident said.
An estimated 3500 Britons were in Libya before the unrest began. Most have already fled, but Hague vowed yesterday to get all UK citizens home.
He said the Government would send a charter plane to Libya within 48 hours. And the Navy frigate HMS Cumberland international waters.
Libyan expats protested outside Downing Street yesterday against Gaddafi’s atrocities.
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