A group of around forty journalists, who were kept effectively hostage by Libyan forces at the Rixos hotel in Tripoli have been freed! At long last…
The tweets have been terrifying. Those of two reporters, Paul Danahar and Matthew Chance are listed below.
Paul Danahar – @pdanahar – BBC Middle East Bureau Chief
- Written in carpark at #Rixos trying to evacuate #BBC team. Their guard pointed gun at me when got out of car said ‘get back #Libya#Tripoli
- Deranged old man with AK47 waving gun at anyone who tries to leave. Other guard is young & seems willing to let them go #Tripoli#Libya
- Another car arrived but guards now furious pointed guns at him & he’s screeched off. Hacks forced back inside. #Libya#Tripoli
- #heavy arms fire breaking out as I sit in #Rixos carpark trying with colleague to extract our team. Minutes passing v slow #Libya #Tripoli
- 30 mins gone by. Fighting stopped for a bit. Chaos inside hotel as hacks try to persuade armed guards to let them out. #Tripoli #Libya
- Now gunfire coming closer to hotel. Fear rebels are going to storm hotel with BBC inside & us in carpark. Our car armoured #Libya #Tripoli
- Old man disarmed but one more guard inside. Fears of snipers on roof.
- 2nd guard disarmed. Waiting.
- They’re out we’ve got then #Tripoli #Libya
- That is what happened at Rixos in last hour #Tripoli #Libya
Matthew Chance – @mchancecnn – CNN Senior International Correspondent
- Here is timeline of events that have happened in the last hour at the #Rixos……
- 330p local time: Negotiating with guards for our release. They said we can leave, but in small groups. #rixos
- We are expecting the ICRC and Chinese embassy to send cars to pick us up. Fingers crossed. #rixos, #rixos4
- 4:00p local time: Pandemonium in lobby of hotel, all going back upstairs. Another anti- climax? #rixos
- 410p local time: After a heart to heart with Arab speaking journos, two Gadhafi guards disarmed. #rixos
- 415p local time: This feels like the end game in this dramatic and unpleasant situation. #rixos
- Running across upper floors of hotel to find a flag with TV written on it. They want to put it on the car. #rixos
- Getting flags with “TV” on them ready for when we are released. Which we hope is soon. #rixos
- BBC cars arrives at #rixos, BBC crew is leaving the hotel.
- 436pm local time: BBC has left the hotel
- 437pm local time: ICRC cars have arrived at the hotel.
- 438pm local time: Now pulling out of #rixos hotel after 6 days of a complete nightmare. Still dodgy situation
- 439pm local time: Crammed with other journos in the car. Reuters, other cameramen, FOX, and AP #rixos
- We have been holed up together for what seems like an eternity. We could finally get out freedom!!! #rixos
- I can see the NTC rebels. We are nearly there!
- The National Transitional Council rebel leaders have announced that they will shortly move to Tripoli, to take command of the situation.
- A multi-million dollar bounty is being offered for the fugitive Muammar Gaddafi.
- A local businessman is offering $1.3 million to anyone who catches the former Libyan leader.
- Funds are being sent, both frozen assets and huge aid donations, by Britain, the US, EU…
- Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown, is not under rebel control.
- Nor is Sabha, a southern desert city. 95% of Libya is believed to be under rebel control.
- U.S. believes Gaddafi is still in Libya.
- Rebels have called on oil workers to help restart the oil facilities at Ras Lanuf and Brega.
- Libya conflict: journalists trapped in Tripoli’s Rixos hotel (guardian.co.uk)
- Libya conflict: journalists trapped in Tripoli’s Rixos hotel – The Guardian (news.google.com)
- Libya: the siege of the Rixos hotel (telegraph.co.uk)