Qaddafi Loyalists Flee Libya To Niger

Security chief and other loyalists of Moammar Qaddafi, have on Tuesday fled into neighboring Niger in multiple convoys across hundreds of miles of desert.

They made their way across the vast swath of Sahara, over 1,000 miles between any populated areas on the two sides of the border.

The country’s de facto rulers, who were Libya’s former rebels, claimed the convoys were a major flight by Qaddafi’s most hardcore backers from his final strongholds.

Niger’s Foreign Minister, Bazoum Mohamed said Mansour Dao, Qaddafi’s security chief, and 12 other officials of Qaddafi’s regime were in the convoys but Qaddafi himself was found there.

Three major cities; Bani Walid, Sirte and Sabha, remain under Qaddafi’s sway. The anti-Qaddafi leadership has been negotiating with tribal leaders in Bani Walid to try to arrange a peaceful entry of its forces into the city, but talks have made little headway amid deep suspicions between the two sides. Opposition officials have depicted the populations in Bani Walid and the other towns as divided, with some prepared to surrender, some still backing Qaddafi, and with a hard core of former regime figures forcing the towns to dig in.

A spokesman for Tripoli’s new military council, Anis Sharif said, “It was not a large number of soldiers. We think it was a protection team of some sort.”

Qaddafi spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, was defiant in a Tuesday phone call to the Syrian TV station al-Rai, saying the ousted leader was “in excellent health, planning and organizing for the defense of Libya.” Ibrahim, who the rebels believe was in Bani Walid, said both Qaddafi and his sons remain in Libya.

“We are fighting and resisting for the sake of Libya and all Arabs,” he said. “We are still strong and capable of turning the tables on NATO,” he said, though the regime effectively collapsed more than a week ago.

But many in the new leadership depicted the move as a significant run for the border by Qaddafi’s inner circle.

Hassan Droua, a representative of Sirte in the NTC, said he had reports from witnesses inside the city that a convoy of cars belonging to Qaddafi’s son Moatassim had left Sirte, heading south toward the Niger border, after they were loaded with cash and gold from the city’s Central Bank branch.

He said there were negotiations Tuesday with tribes in Sirte for the handover of the city, located on the Mediterranean coast 250 miles southeast of Tripoli. Fadl-Allah Haroun, a commander in Benghazi where the NTC remains based, also said there were talks with Sirte residence and that he had reports of as many as 250 vehicles in fleeing convoys.

Recently, some members of Qaddafi’s family, including his wife, his daughter Aisha and two of his sons sought refuge in Algeria.

  1. Dio Reply

    In many posts about the Libyan situation, I find it nsacseery to preface my remarks with Maybe I’ve missed something, but… Nevertheless, I find it nsacseery to do that again here.The rebels (at least until the last couple of days) appear to have allowed – even encouraged – journalists and photographers to accompany them virtually everywhere, including even the front lines, and I’ve seen numerous photographs of killed and wounded rebel fighters. The rebels also claim that Gaddafi’s forces have been indiscriminately bombing and machine-gunning women and children, which Gaddafi’s spokesmen vehemently deny. It would not surprise me to learn that some women and children have been killed, as happens, unfortunately, in any war. But I’m surprised that I haven’t seen any photographs or videos of wounded or dead women or children. I’d expect the rebels to publicize any such incidents, especially if they’re occurring on the scale alleged by the rebels.I’m also surprised that the UN has not taken up what I understand is a standing offer from Gaddafi to come and see for yourself about the rebels’ allegations of women/children casualties. Certainly UN inspectors might get to Libya and quickly learn that they’re permitted only to participate in restricted tours, or that doctors and nurses seem to be reluctant to talk or do not sound credible. But there’s only one way to find out whether that will occur. Why not go there, make an effort to investigate, and call Gaddafi’s bluff if he does in fact restrict your access? Wouldn’t that make more sense than to sit in one’s office somewhere in Europe and the US and simply insist that an inspection tour would be pointless?

  2. Gheorghe Reply

    I’m innocent, I did onhting!But then he died.Oops! He doesn’t know how that happened…Now no one in Libya care, only foreigner care, foreigners love butchering tyrants. they want to bring Gaddafi back to life so they can make more deals with him.Maybe foreigners can try Voodoo?They so disappointed they not have a new dictator in Libya. NATO tried so hard to get a henchman to kill Gaddafi so they would have a new didn’t work Western people so unhappy and scared maybe Western Publics will be inspired to get rid of dictators in North America and Europe it very scary to foreigners rich people who rule the West this thing called people’s democracy or the Will of the People.Where will the rich Western people hide when their turn comes? What culvert will the people pull them out of?

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