1 Mar 2011

Rebels form governing body in Benghazi

2:00 pm on 1 March 2011

Opposition rebels in the Libyan city of Benghazi say they're forming a council to be the face of the country's revolution.

The country's leader for the past 41 years, Muammar Gaddafi, is losing his grip on power as rebels gain more and more ground.

Those in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, have set up an interim national council to govern the cities seized from forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi, the ABC reports.

Protest leaders say the council should be seen not as a government but as the "face of Libya" during a transitional period, until they force Colonel Gaddafi from power altogether and hold elections in a few months.

One leader says consultations are under way to discuss the composition and duties of the new body.

Among its members are the former justice minister, who quit the Gaddafi regime late last week, and military leaders who have also defected.

The spokesman says anti-government protesters are counting on the army to topple Colonel Gaddafi and liberate the capital, Tripoli.