SABHA, Libya -- The transitional government delivered $16 million yesterday to this remote southern city beset by fighters loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, hoping to bolster support for revolutionary forces.
Journalists accompanied the oil and finance minister, Ali al-Tarhouni, and the cash on the first flight to touch down in the desert city of Sabha since a NATO-enforced no-fly zone order in March. The 20 boxes of 20-dinar notes, each weighing 116 pounds, were delivered to the Sabha central bank.
Revolutionary forces have gained control of much of the area but face heavy resistance.
"The forces inside these areas are not opposed to joining us but they do not want to disarm," said Ahmed Bashir, spokesman for the National Transitional Council in Sabha. "They have the weapons and no manpower. We have the manpower and lighter weapons."
Gadhafi's supporters are still putting up a fierce fight on three fronts: in his hometown of Sirte, the town of Bani Walid, southeast of the capital, and in pockets in the vast desert south, including Sabha. Most of the recent fighting has occurred in Bani Walid and the Mediterranean coastal city of Sirte.
Gadhafi's whereabouts are unknown, although he has exhorted his supporters to fight on in audio messages. His son, Seif al-Islam, was shown in an amateur video recording yesterday on the Syrian-based Al-Rai TV, which has become the former regime's mouthpiece.
The video shows Seif cheering and waving with a machine gun in his hand. Bearded in past appearances, he was shaven and wearing a camouflage jacket. Many have speculated that he is still hiding in Bani Walid.