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Libya claims arrest of ex-Gaddafi spokesperson, but he denies it

The public face of the Gaddafi regime, Moussa Ibrahim, has denied in audio message that he has been arrested but there has been no confirmation it is him.

Moussa Ibrahim speaking at a hotel in Tripoli last year
Moussa Ibrahim speaking at a hotel in Tripoli last year
Image: Dario Lopez-Mills/AP/Press Association Images

MUAMMAR GADDAFI’S LAST spokesman Moussa Ibrahim purportedly denied in an audio report posted on the Internet that he was arrested as had been announced by the new Libyan authorities yesterday.

“On the subject of my arrest today… it is an attempt to draw attention away from the crimes committed by NATO’s rebels against our people in Bani Walid,” said the man identifying himself as Moussa Ibrahim.

The authenticity of the report could not be immediately confirmed.

The office of the Libyan prime minister and official media announced yesterday that Ibrahim had been arrested. The government, however, appeared to retract its remarks just hours laters.

Its official spokesman, Nasser al-Manaa, told private channel Libya al-Ahrar that the government had no official confirmation “on the arrest of any members of the former regime.”

The audio message purportedly from Ibrahim declared that he wasn’t even in Libya.

‘One year on’

“We are outside of Libya and we have no ties or contact with Bani Walid,” the recording said. It also claimed that women and children were being “killed unfairly” in the oasis town by “Qaeda’s forcess allied to criminal gangs linked to Misrata.”

“I am Moussa Ibrahim — speaking to you one year after the death of the great revolutionary leader Muammar Gaddafi and his free companions and the fall of the legitimate Libyan state under bombing by NATO and its criminal agents,” said the recording.

The statement comes on the first anniversary of the death of Gaddafi, who was seized and killed in his hometown of Sirte on October 20, 2011, after eight months of bloody conflict.

The government had initially said Ibrahim had been arrested as its forces launched an offensive against Bani Walid, one of the strongman’s final bastions, triggering clashes with fighters there that killed at least 26 people and left over 200 wounded.

“Moussa Ibrahim was arrested at a checkpoint in the town of Tarhuna,” read a statement issued by the prime minister’s office. “(He) is being taken to Tripoli where he will be handed over to the pertinent authorities to begin questioning.”

Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur had also confirmed the news on microblogging site Twitter with the following post: “Criminal Moussa Ibrahim was arrested and he is now on his way to Tripoli.”

Read: Gaddafi son dead along with other loyalists as details of Sirte battle emerge

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