Authors: Joshua Cohan
(BENGHAZI, Libya) -- UCLA student Chris Jeon is on the ultimate summer vacation — fighting Moammar Ghadafi’s loyalists in Libya. Two weeks ago, the 21-year-old bought a one-way ticket to join rebels in Libya, he told United Arab Emirates newspaper The National.
“It is the end of my summer vacation, so I thought it would be cool to join the rebels. This is one of the only real revolutions [in the world],” he said.
According to the paper, Jeon flew one-way from Los Angeles to Cairo, then by train to Alexandria, then by a series of buses to Benghazi, where he hitched a ride with rebels heading west towards the Libya capital of Tripoli. He then trekked 248 miles across the desert landscape to An Nawfaliyah — a rebel outpost where he was interviewed by The National and the Christian Science Monitor.
Why did he only buy a one-way ticket? He said, “If I get captured or something, I don’t want to waste another $800.”
His new name, he said, is “Ahmed El Maghrabi Saidi Barga.” Other than that, he has difficulty communicating with the rebels. “It’s hard to communicate. I don’t really speak any Arabic,” he said. Jeon said his family has no idea he is in Libya.
On Friday, Al Jazeera English’s Evan Hill tweeted an update on Jeon: Our team in east #Libya said rebels fed up with Chris Jeon, US kid who tried to join, told him 2 go, last seen on pick-up going 2 Benghazi.
A UCLA spokesperson confirmed that Jeon is a student, with an expected graduation year of 2013, but repeatedly declined to say more.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio