Acting Libya PM calls for unity

The acting prime minister for Libya's new rulers has appealed for national unity to rebuild the country while calling Muammar Gaddafi a figure of the past.

Mahmoud Jibril said the battle for Libya is not over, with pockets still controlled by Gaddafi loyalists - and only after the whole country is liberated can a new government be formed.

Thursday's appearance was Mr Jibril's first in the capital Tripoli since rebel forces stormed the city last month, effectively ending Gaddafi's rule and sending him into hiding.

Mr Jibril refused to discuss Gaddafi's whereabouts or send a message to the former ruler. He said he would not "talk about things of the past", referring to Gaddafi.

Earlier, Gaddafi called on his followers in an audio message to keep fighting, saying he is still in Libya.

The battle was continuing for the Libyan town of Bani Walid as former rebel fighters hunted for Gaddafi.

Gaddafi loyalists have been firing rockets from inside one of his last remaining bastions, targeting former rebel fighters who have surrounded the desert town. At least 10 loud explosions shook the ground along the desert front line and smoke billowed from where the Grad rockets landed in Wadi Dinar, about 12 miles outside the town.

The barrage came hours after Gaddafi issued an audio message on a loyalist Syrian-based TV channel, denying rumours that he had fled Libya and vowing "never to leave the land of his ancestors". The ousted Libyan leader urged followers to take up arms and denounced rumours that he had fled the country.

In the five-minute audio, aired on Al-Rai TV, a voice purportedly of Gaddafi denounced reports that he had fled to neighbouring Niger and claimed he is still in Libya. He also blasted former rebels who ousted him from power as "a bunch of mercenaries, thugs and traitors" and urged his followers to take up arms.

"We are ready to start the fight in Tripoli and everywhere else, and rise against them," Gaddafi said. "All of these germs, rats and scumbags, they are not Libyans, ask anyone. they have co-operated with Nato ... Gaddafi won't leave the land of his ancestors."