News / Africa

Gadhafi Loyalists Flee in Convoy to Niger

A rebel fighter checks a rifle at a checkpoint between Tarhouna and Bani Walid. Moammar Gadhafi is determined to fight his way back to power, the toppled dictator's spokesman said but a large convoy of his soldiers has apparently deserted, crossing the Li
A rebel fighter checks a rifle at a checkpoint between Tarhouna and Bani Walid. Moammar Gadhafi is determined to fight his way back to power, the toppled dictator's spokesman said but a large convoy of his soldiers has apparently deserted, crossing the Li

Multimedia

Audio

Reports that a large convoy of Moammar Gadhafi's supporters has fled Libya for Niger have angered many in the Libyan capital.   Citizens want to see their former leader and those around him facing justice at home.

A convoy of some 200 armored vehicles is said to have crossed into Niger from southern Libya late Monday, possibly via Algeria.  As the reports spread, so, too, did speculation that some of the Gadhafi loyalists may be headed on to Burkina Faso, which has offered safe haven to the ousted leader.

Gadhafi's longstanding ties to Niger's Tuareg

Moammar Gadhafi has longstanding ties to Tuareg nomads in Niger, the country entered by a convoy of pro-Gadhafi forces late Monday.

Colonel Gadhafi once supported a Tuareg rebellion in northern Niger, and hundreds of former Tuareg rebels have fought for him against Libyan insurgents.

The Tuareg are based in the eastern Sahara, mainly in Niger and Mali. Tuareg fighters have staged uprisings in both countries over the years in a bid for greater autonomy.

In the past decade, Colonel Gadhafi pushed Libya toward closer ties with other African countries, and used his oil money to forge tighter relationships with the continent's leaders.

Some African countries continue to recognize Colonel Gadhafi as Libya's leader. Niger's government, however, has recognized the anti-Gadhafi National Transitional Council as the country's legitimate authority.

Burkina Faso has straddled the line on events in Libya, recognizing the National Transitional Council, but also willing to flout its obligation to the International Criminal Court, which has issued an arrest warrant for Gadhafi on war crimes.

Jalal al Galal, a spokesman for the provisional authorities, says the NTC wants Gadhafi to stay in Libya.

"The NTC has made it very clear all along that they requested from all the neighboring countries not to aid and abet criminals on the escape.  We don't know the content of the convoy.  It could be gold.  It could be money.  It could be members of his family.  We hope that it is not members of his family and we hope it is not him," he said.

Gadhafi's whereabouts remained unknown Tuesday and early reports that he may have planned to join the convoy appear unfounded.  Late Monday, his spokesman Moussa Ibrahim, also on in hiding, said the former leader remained in Libya.

Officials in Niger are quoted as saying the convoy was smaller than reported, and insisted Gadhafi was not in it.

Libyans were quick to condemn any possible escape of their former leader or his supporters.  In Tripoli's central Martyr's Square, Fawzi Jobran, an accountant, said Mr. Gadhafi and his inner circle must be held accountable.

"He must be in front of the Libyan people here.  It's not fair," he said. "He must bring the mafia -- those criminals -- to stay here."

Nearby, Yusef, who did not give his last name, echoed that sentiment. "For the trial, I prefer, and I pray to Allah, it will be in Libya. Because in The Hague, there will be a lot of respect [for Gadhafi].  He will not feel suffering.  But in Libya, he will know how suffering we were," Yusef stated.

Several members of Gadhafi's immediate family have already taken refuge in neighboring Algeria.  The incident also prompted anger from Libya's provisional authorities.

The possible movement of key ex-officials out of Libya comes as the NTC grapples with taking control of the last remaining Gadhafi-held towns.   Forces loyal to the NTC continued to mass outside Bani Walid and Sirte Tuesday, giving his supporters until Saturday to lay down their arms or face an attack.  Negotiations with tribal representatives and Gadhafi supporters have been held on and off for days.

Bani Walid tribal leader Abdul Qader Ganyeh was optimistic a confrontation could be avoided.

Ganyeh says 90 percent of the people in the town are for a peaceful solution, and "want to be part of Libya."

The provisional leaders have also been making headway on other, practical matters.  Much of Tripoli now has running water again, the supply of electricity is becoming less sporadic, and the mood looking forward remains upbeat.

Even Yusef, the man who wanted Gadhafi to suffer, showed his sense of humor was intact, riffing on the former leader's famous vow to hunt down rebels street by street, house by house, alleyway by alleyway.

"We will build our country from street to street, from house to house, zenga zenga ["alley to alley"],  And this will take not a long time," Yusef said.

But he adds, once more, he really wants Gadhafi found.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid