Qaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya becoming a residential compound

Once a military barrack for former Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi, the partially destroyed Bab al-Aziziya compound is now home to dozens of new Libyan residents.

Families have built their homes on rubble remains of the compound, six months after the capital Tripoli was seized by rebels and Qaddafi was consequentially ousted.

While some residents say they moved to Bab al-Aziziya due to costs, some say conditions there aren’t as habitable. The 24-year old Saja says the compound is empty and there with no running water or electricity.

Other residents say they have already informed local authorities of their moving into the compound, and are settling in well.

"Before, you wouldn't dare to even look at the walls from outside, and now we are living inside. I feel like a real Libyan citizen, with pride and dignity, to be able to live like this. No more taboos or sacred places I can't go to. As a Libyan it's my land and I can live wherever I want and go wherever I want," said Salem, another resident.

Rebels displayed bold defiance as they trashed the former fortress of the autocratic leader in efforts to force Qaddafi to give up his complex of houses, offices and storage.

The National Transitional council has drawn up alternatives in transforming the compound, for example into a park, but no plan has been solidified as of yet.

"We hope the government will be fair and just. Even if living conditions aren't good or if they want to change it to a park, for sure if they move these people from here they will find them a place. They won't throw them out onto the street" he said.

One thing is apparent, and that is Bab al-Aziziya belongs to Libyans, and the rebel fighters who seized the compound are memorialized by graffiti on its walls.


Salem - resident

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