Embattled Libyan strongman, Muammar Gaddafi has threatened to blow up oil pipelines. If the threat is carried out it could trigger off global economic crisis of dire dimensions. The threat is part of a desperate bid to rein in the mounting opposition in his country.
Agency reports yesterday put the death toll in the country at 1000 in the latest round of bloodshed as the defiant leader clings to power.
Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said the death toll of 1000 in the unrest was "credible," a higher toll than previously estimated based on reports from rights groups.
President Goodluck Jonathan has reacted to the situation by directing that Nigerians residing in the troubled countries of the Middle East be evacuated immediately.
Also, the federal government has condemned what it described as " disproportionate use of force to disperse protesters in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East."
Speaking after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting yesterday presided over by vice-president Namadi Sambo, the minister of information and communications, Mr. Labaran Maku and his foreign affairs counterpart, Odein Ajumogobia told State House correspondents that, "Government deplores the violence; it also condemns the disproportional use of force to disperse protesters. The crisis can and should be resolved through dialogue in those countries".
As a mark of solidarity with the Lybian people, international community might have started mobilising against Gaddafi and his family.
According to a report, a plane conveying Gaddafi's daughter, Aisha, to Malta was turned back. Also another plane carrying his son's daughter was refused landing rights in Beirut, the Lebanese capital.
Meanwhile, there were strong indications that President Barack Obama of the United States of America is under pressure to make a statement on the Libyan crisis.
News of the growing unrest came as a former Libyan justice minister claimed Gaddafi personally ordered the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988.
Mustapha Abdeljalil told Swedish newspaper the Expressen that he had evidence that the Libyan leader was behind the deadly attack.
The Italian government in its assessment of the situation said Gaddafi had lost control of the eastern half of Libya amid growing deadly unrest.
Mr. Frattini said Gaddafi's regime had perpetrated a "horrible bloodbath" and was no longer in control of the eastern province of Cyrenaica, one of the three regions which make up Libya and includes the country's second city Benghazi, where the rebellion against his iron hand rule began.
The BBC reported that Ghadafi's control was limited to parts of capital Tripoli and the southern city Sabha.
Sky News broadcast the first live images to emerge from Libya, which showed an opposition rally in the city of Tobruk, the eastern-most major city.
Mr Frattini also warned that the collapse of Gaddafi's regime would spark a mass influx of Libyans towards Italy, the former colonial power in the north African oil producer.
Italy is already struggling to deal with a wave of post-revolution refugees from Tunisia.
"There would be an exodus of biblical proportions, a problem that Italy cannot, must not underestimate," Minister Frattini said.
China, India, South Korea, France and the United States, among other countries, have scrambled to evacuate their citizens from the turbulent nation, as the international community condemned the crackdown a day after Gadhafi vowed to defend his rule and called on supporters to crack down on anti-government protesters.
Gadhafi's retaliation has already been the harshest in the wave of anti-government protests sweeping the Middle East.
The Libyan ambassadors in the US, the UN, India and Bangladesh have already quit their posts in protest against the brutal acts of Ghadafi's regime.
Defections of senior officials and diplomats continued, with Libya's ambassador to Indonesia, Salaheddin M. El Bishari, becoming the latest to quit in protest.
"Soldiers are killing unarmed civilians mercilessly using heavy weaponry, fighter jets and mercenaries against its own people. It is not acceptable," El Bishari told The Jakarta Post.
In parliament yesterday, Australian foreign minister, Kevin Rudd labelled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi a "dictator out of control" and called for sanctions against the north African nation. Mr Rudd said Gaddafi had described protesters as "rats" who needed purging from his country.
"These are not the words of a responsible political leader. These are the words of a dictator out of control," Mr Rudd said.
Meanwhile, Libya's interior minister is believed to have been kidnapped in Benghazi after he resigned to join protesters, state media reported.
Libya's interior minister Abdul Fattah Younis announced his defection yesterday, shortly after leader Muammar Gaddafi threatened violence in an address on state TV.
Al Jazeera reported that another senior official, an aide to Gaddafi's eldest son Saif al Islam Gaddafi, had resigned in protest against the violence.
French energy giant Total said yesterday that it was "starting to suspend" part of its oil production in Libya adding to concerns over the impact of Arab unrest on oil price.
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