We moved to the side of the road in case of shelling, which tended to hit the center of the road. And now they are dragging her by her hair to the trucks.That’s when we heard automatic gunfire; the warning was right. ” But the only rebel vehicles in sight were fleeing the scene and we weren’t close enough to get in, so we ran deeper into the desert to take cover in a small copse of trees. I saw Anton lying on the ground, his blood darkening the sand, as soldiers tied our hands and piled Jim, Manu, and me on the floor of one truck.Tuesday, April 5, started off as an exceptionally successful day.
While covering the Libyan civil war, the author was seized by Muammar Qaddafi’s forces and held in captivity with two colleagues; a third was killed.
This is the story of how an academic found herself imprisoned in Tripoli.
Read how her Libyan adventures played out in real time.
There were four of us that morning, freelancers who had already racked up our share of near misses, together and separately.
The dissertation in medieval history I’d completed less than a year earlier had left me unsatisfied with academia and determined to work in journalism, where I could get a look at history being made. from our base in Benghazi toward Brega, an important oil town in eastern Libya, where the front line of the rebel offensive had stagnated.
At a checkpoint outside Brega, we dismissed our driver and secured a ride with some rebels, in a red van that we quickly concluded was a scout vehicle.
We’d seen no such thing, and had frequently gotten faulty intelligence from rebels. Jim stood, held up his hands, and said “Sahafa” (Press) over and over, and the soldiers didn’t shoot any more.
We milled about for a while, asking if we could ride with the rebels when they launched a counteroffensive. Lying under the trees, I couldn’t shake from my mind the rebel propaganda about African mercenaries Qaddafi sent into the field, pumped up on Viagra and ordered to rape. An older-looking soldier I took to be the squad leader ran over, screaming, and clocked me in the face with his fist. It was like watching a scene in a movie: Boy, that doesn’t look good.
His quiet charisma and professionalism had impressed me during an interview with a general in Benghazi, and later that evening he had bounded up to me in the hotel, showing off a picture of his son, with whom he’d just chatted on Skype.