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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid