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Gaddafi family flees Libya for Algeria

His wife and three of his children have arrived in Algeria amid calls for them to be brought back to Libya to be tried before Libyan courts.

Rebel fighters fire on what is allegedly Gaddafi's beach house in Tripoli
Rebel fighters fire on what is allegedly Gaddafi's beach house in Tripoli
Image: AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini

ALGERIA HAS OPENED its doors to the wife and three children of Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi.

Gaddafi’s whereabouts are still unknown and the Obama administration said that it has no indication he has left the country.

In a statement, the Algerian Foreign Ministry said that Gaddafi’s wife Safia, his sons Hannibal and Mohammed and his daughter Aisha entered the country across the land border, and that the United Nations Secretary General, UN Security Council president and head of the Libyan rebels transitional leadership council had been informed.

Throughout the six-month Libyan uprising, rebels have accused Algeria of providing Gaddafi with mercenaries to repress the revolt.

An aide to the the National Transitional Council head, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, said that officials would demand that Algerian authorities hand over the Gaddafi family members to Libya so they can be tried before Libyan courts.

Of Gaddafi’s children, Hannibal headed the maritime transport company; Mohammed the national Olympic committee. Aisha, a lawyer, helped in the defense of toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the trial that led to his hanging.

Rebels said that one of Gaddafi’s sons, Khamis, was probably killed in battle following a clash with a military convoy near the town of Tarhouna, 80 kilometres southeast of Tripoli, in which two vehicles in the convoy were destroyed.

The bodies in the cars were burned beyond recognition, he said, but captured soldiers said they were Khamis Gaddafi’s bodyguards.

However, last week the rebels claimed to have captured Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam, a key figure, only to have him turn up the next day and talk to reporters.

Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, his last major stronghold in the country, is a current focus of concern.

The town, 250 miles east of Tripoli, is heavily militarised and shows no signs yet of surrendering even though rebels say they are trying to negotiate a bloodless takeover.

There was some fighting Monday on the eastern and western approaches to Sirte and some have speculated that Gaddafi and other senior regime figures may have fled there.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the African Union has accused Libyan rebels of indiscriminately killing black people because they have confused innocent migrant workers with Gaddafi’s mercenaries.

Gaddafi had recruited fighters from further south on the continent, but many sub-Saharan Africans are in the country as labourers.

National Transitional Council spokesman Abdel-Hafiz Ghoga denied the AU claims.

Survivors and human rights groups have said Gaddafi loyalists retreating from Tripoli killed scores of detainees and arbitrarily shot civilians over the past week.

Council spokesman Ghoga said rebels freed 10,000 people from prisons, leaving at least 40,000 unaccounted for.

In the capital, members of the National Transitional Council announced further steps to becoming an effective government.

Suleiman Mahmoud al-Obeidi, the rebels’ deputy military chief, announced the formation of a 17-member committee to represent the 30 or local military councils he said had been set up in the country’s west.

France will dispatch a team of diplomats to reopen the French embassy there and see how France can aid the city.

Kristalina Georgieva, European commissioner for international aid, said the EU has opened a humanitarian office to help distribute medical and other emergency aid in the Libyan capital.

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Associated Press

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