AFRICA/LIBYA - Heavy fighting in Tripoli. The Franciscan monks barricaded in the convent

Tripoli (Agenzia Fides) - "Currently there are 3 Franciscan friars barricaded in the convent in Tripoli. No one dares to walk in the street because people are shot on sight, even if it is not clear who shoots who. Of course it is dangerous for civilians to leave the house" this is what is referred to Fides by sources of the Church who spoke over the phone late yesterday evening with the small Catholic community in Tripoli, still shocked by the fighting between the forces of Gaddafi's regime and those of the Transitional Authority. "Currently, the phone lines are cut and one cannot contact the monks" continue the sources of Fides. "From the latest communications we were told that on the night between 21 and 22 August there were shootings outside the convent". The situation of the Catholic community in Benghazi seems to be better and calmer, which continues to regularly carry out its pastoral activities. "There have not been particular difficulties encountered in the pastoral ministry with the new authorities. Only in March-April there were problems concerning public order but now the transition authorities have gradually taken over the situation", refer the sources to Fides. According to the news agency there are ongoing heavy fighting in Tripoli around the fortified area of Bab al-Azizy, Gadhafi's residence. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 23/08/2011)