Gadhafi’s Son Saadi Intercepted in Niger

Posted September 11th, 2011 at 9:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Niger's government says an army patrol intercepted a convoy carrying ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's son Saadi and nine other people after they crossed the desert from Libya.

Justice Minister Marou Amadou said Sunday the vehicles were traveling toward the northern city of Agadez, where other Libyan loyalists are believed to have fled, including three generals and Mr. Gadhafi's security chief.

Amadou said he expected the group to be transferred to the capital, Niamey, sometime this week and that Niger would fulfill its international obligations. But he said the government has no plans to arrest Saadi Gadhafi for now, as the International Criminal Court in the Hague has not issued a warrant for him.

Saadi, the highest profile member of the former regime to enter Niger, had attempted to negotiate an end to the fighting in Libya with the ruling National Transitional Council late last month after its fighters swept through the capital, Tripoli. His brother, Seif al-Islam, publicly contradicted his efforts at the time, vowing a “war of attrition.”

Meanwhile, fierce resistance by loyalists entrenched in two pro-Gadhafi strongholds has stalled the provisional authority forces' final push for complete control over Libya.

Anti-Gadhafi fighters returning from the oasis city of Bani Walid said they felt outgunned despite making progress, with loyalist forces successfully using mortars, Grad rockets and rooftop snipers. Residents said clashes were concentrated around the central market area but that anti-Gadhafi forces had taken control of all other parts of the city.

In Mr. Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, loyalists reportedly used an extended cease-fire to reinforce their positions. Advancing provisional authority troops said the frontline is now about 90 kilometers east of the city.

Earlier Sunday, Interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said the NTC would form a more inclusive interim government within 10 days. He also said Libya has begun to produce oil in the country's eastern regions, though he did not indicate which fields had been activated.

Mr. Gadhafi's whereabouts are unknown. Late Saturday, Guinea Bissau's prime minister said his country would welcome the ousted leader should he seek exile in the west African country. Guinea Bissau had strong ties to Mr. Gadhafi's government when he was in power.