THE HAGUE - Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is expected to try to surrender to the International Criminal Court or seek refuge in a friendly African country as he races to escape his father's fate.
The ICC in The Hague said on Friday the 39-year-old had been in touch. It urged him to turn himself in, warning it could order a mid-air interception if he and his mercenary guards tried to flee by plane from his desert hideout for a safe haven.
The ICC's comments offered some corroboration of reports from Tripoli's new National Transitional Council (NTC) leaders and African neighbors that he has taken refuge with Tuareg nomads in the borderlands between Libya and Niger.
"Through intermediaries, we have informal contact with Saif," ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in a statement.
"We have learnt through informal channels that there is a group of mercenaries who are offering to move Saif to an African (state) not party to ... the ICC. The Office of the Prosecutor is also exploring the possibility to intercept any plane within the air space of a state party in order to make an arrest."
NTC officials told Reuters earlier this week that monitoring of satellite calls and other intelligence indicated Saif al-Islam was considering turning himself in to the ICC, and trying to arrange an aircraft to get him there and out of reach of NTC fighters, in whose hands Muammar Gaddafi was killed a week ago.