February 22nd, 2011
07:47 PM ET

Interior minister resigns rather than carry out Gadhafi orders

CNN Wire Staff

Tobruk, Libya (CNN) - Libya's interior minister said Wednesday he has quit the government and is supporting the protesters, who he predicted will achieve victory in "days or hours."

Ex-Interior Minister Abdul Fattah Younis al Abidi told CNN that he resigned Monday after hearing that some 300 unarmed civilians had been killed in Benghazi alone during the prior two to three days and he accused Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi of planning to attack civilians on a wide scale.

"Gadhafi told me he was planning on using airplanes against the people in Benghazi and I told him that he will have thousands of people killed if he does that," Abidi said in an Arabic-language telephone interview conducted Wednesday.

Abidi said he now supports the people and the revolution.

He called Gadhafi "a stubborn man" who will not give up. "He will either commit suicide or he will get killed," said Abidi, who said he has known him since 1964.

Abidi predicted that the revolution will succeed "in a matter of days or hours" and he called on Libyan security forces "to join the people in the intifada." Already, he said, "many members" of the security forces had defected, including those in the capital city of Tripoli.

He said the entire eastern part of the country is no longer under Gadhafi's control, and that security forces there have orders to never open fire on the people unless forced to do so in self-defense.

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    If the interior minister has "officially resigned" that is good,but I suspect if he had he would highly likely be in Jail by now and not able to tell anyone!
    As usual Gadhafi spoke in his usual rambling discordant fashion for over 1 hour on national TV and is clearly not fully competent, and quotes from a green Book of constitution that is the perfect guide to dictatorship if ever there was one.
    While this "revolution" is the most disturbing in its violence, it does not demand the almost exclusive coverage it is being given.
    I am more interested in progrees in Tunisia and Egypt and maybe Bahrain, as these will depending on outcome have spill over effects even in Libya eventually.
    More on other subjects please AC360

    February 22, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  2. Liana

    Gadhafi has gone made long time ago and Libyan people know it, Egypt overthrow inspired them to rise and they will go till the end. Gadhafi's son is trying to retain their family power by scaring people with death penalties and cleanings, but that will not stop the protestors. Hopefully he will realize there is no options but to step out before he sheds "rivers of blood"

    February 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    The US getting Americans out of Libya and this resignation of the Interior Minister seem to signal that this is indeed the end of Gadhafi. I hope for the Libyan that there is not any more mass killing by Gadhafi forces. Gadhafi seems to blame all but himself for this current situation but that's no surprise as he's done it for years. I hope he is gone soon.

    February 22, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  4. John

    How ironic that we are watching the Middle East gain democracy as fast as we are losing it.

    February 22, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  5. Minoo

    Mr. Anderson, I am an Iranian who is passionate about middle east politics and democracy and I beg you to continue with Libyan coverage as much as you can. The leaders of Libya are just like the leaders of Iran, very ruthless and will stop at nothing and the Libyans are in serious danger every minute if they are on the side of the opposition. However, I would like to point out a very important fact and that is when you reveal the many crimes of these tyrannts and in the case of Qaddafi, a monster, you have to also reveal the crimes of Israel's goverment against Palestinians and how United States and Europe have contiuously over the last 40 or more years supported these criminals in every possible way for their own gains. For example, President Bush and Cheney are both war criminals and they are free and living their lives in prosperity. You can not reveal one criminal and not mention the others.

    February 22, 2011 at 8:37 pm |