* Pro-Gaddafi fighters holed up in his hometown
* Libya's new rulers tied elections to fall of Sirte
* Troops frustrated by slow progress
By Tim Gaynor and Rania el Gamal
SIRTE, Oct 16 (Reuters)- Libyan government fighters battled
on Sunday to subdue pockets of resistance by pro-Gaddafi
fighters, whose refusal to abandon the ousted leader's hometown
of Sirte is delaying Libya's move to democracy.
Ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) forces kept up
their bombardment of a small area in the centre of Sirte but
there was no push under way from ground troops.
NTC militia have besieged Sirte for weeks, slowly boxing
Gaddafi die-hards into an area about two square kilometres (a
square mile). Green flags, the symbol of Gaddafi's rule, still
fly over the area.
Some fighters expressed irritation with their commanders for
failing to order and advance and poor communication between
"There are no orders coming in even though we have the power
to push them out," Hesham al-Dafani, an NTC fighter, told
Reuters. "We don't know what's happening."
The failure to seize Sirte -- and the other remaining
Gaddafi holdout, Bani Walid -- has delayed Libya's democratic
transition. The country's new rulers say the process will only
begin once Sirte is captured.
Fighting also continued in Bani Walid on Sunday, Reuters
reporters said, with sniper fire hindering an NTC advance into
the city just as it has in Sirte.
Some fighters in Sirte said they suspected that the failure
to order an advance was a result of NTC leaders not yet being
ready to set out a roadmap for national elections.
Other fighters blamed the delay on a lack of communication
between different NTC militias in Sirte.
"We are civilians, we not military people," NTC field
commander, Mohammed al Sabty, said. "We don't have a certain
NTC fighters continued to fire on an area known as
Neighbourhood Two and said they believed one of Gaddafi's sons,
Mo'tassim, could be holed up there.
"We know that Gaddafi's Mo'tassim is inside, that's why they
are fighting to the last drop of blood," commander Omar Abu Lifa
said. "We're surrounding that area. We are taking it slowly
because we want to catch him alive."
Some NTC sources told Reuters last week Mo'tassim, a former
national security advisor, had been captured as he tried to
escape Sirte. But the ruling NTC has yet to officially confirm,
or deny, the reports.
NTC officers say Gaddafi loyalists continue to hold out
because they fear reprisals if they surrender. Some captured
fighters have been abused, rights groups say.
A doctor for the medical aid charity Medecins Sans
Frontieres in Sirte has estimated 10,000 people remain trapped
in the city of 75,000 residents. Many are women and children,
some are sick or injured.
GADDAFI HOME BULLDOZED
Some political analysts say the long sieges of Sirte and
Bani Walid risk undermining the NTC which and frustrate its
effort to control the whole country.
The often chaotic struggle for Sirte has killed scores of
people, left thousands homeless and laid waste to much of what
was once a showpiece Mediterranean city where Gaddafi enjoyed
entertaining foreign leaders.
The dangers posed by the failure to capture Gaddafi were
highlighted on Friday when fighting erupted in Tripoli between
NTC forces and Gaddafi-loyalists for the first time since he
fled the city in August.
Government forces set up more roadblocks across the city
over the weekend, but especially in and around Abu Salim, an
area of run-down apartment blocks where the clashes took place.
The area remained calm on Sunday amid the heavy security
but, nearby, a group of armed men with two bulldozers began
demolishing the walls around Gaddafi's former home.
As the bulldozers set about the Bab al-Azizyah compound, a
heavily fortified construction spread over six sq-km (2.3 sq
miles) that symbolised his repressive rule, men chanted, "God is
greatest. This is for the blood of the martyrs."
Some fired machineguns into the air.
"We are destroying it because we want to demolish anything
that belongs to Gaddafi," one gunman, Essam Sarag, told Reuters.
People driving past stopped their cars and joined a crowd
waving new Libyan flags.
"We will continue until we destroy everything that belongs
to Gaddafi," said Etman Lelktah, who said he was in charge of
the fighters at the scene.
"We ask that a peace organisation be built instead of
(Additional reporting by Haydar Zim in Bani Walid and Yasmine
Saleh in Tripoli; Writing by Barry Malone; Editing by Jon Boyle)