Monday, 12 September 2011

Sa'adi Qadhafi flees to Niger

According to Niger's Justice Minister Marou Amadou one of Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi's sons, Sa'adi Qadhafi, has been allowed into Niger on humanitarian grounds. The minister said he is expected in the capital city of Niamey later today.

Qadhafi's own whereabouts are unknown, but the Libyan leader has vowed to die on Libyan soil. Most of the country is now controlled by anti-Qadhafi revolutionaries, but pro-Qadhafi loyalists are still holding out in several cities, including Bani Walid, Sirte, Jufra and Sabha.

On Sunday 11th September, anti-Qadhafi forces renewed their attack on Bani Walid, 180km from Tripoli. The operation was supported by NATO airstrikes. According to a number of sources, the forces are within reach of the town centre. They are also reportedly closing in on the city of Sirte.

It has now been established that some of Qadhafi's family, including his wife and daughter, have fled to the neighbouring Algeria. A number of pro-Qadhafi convoys have also crossed the southern border with Niger recently. According to Niger's government, who has officially recognised the National Transitional Council (NTC), it has yet to decide whether it would allow Qadhafi to enter the country.

The US has urged Niger to detain any individual wanted by Tripoli and strip them of weapons and money.

In related news, the West African nation of Guinea Bissau has said it would welcome Qadhafi if he sought refuge there. Guinea Bissau's Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, said: “With all the investment that Qadhafi has put into Guinea Bissau he deserves the respect and good treatment by the authorities and people of Guinea Bissau."

Head of NTC Mahmoud Jibril has announced that an interim government will be formed within 10 days. Speaking on Sunday 11th September, he said that all areas of Tripoli would be represented, including those where conflict was ongoing.

Jibril also noted that Libya had resumed producing oil, saying more would be on stream in the near future.

On the same day, an NTC spokesman Anes Sharif, announced that Qadhafi's head of foreign intelligence, Abuzeid Dorda, has been arrested in Tripoli.

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, WSJ

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

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