'Muammar Gaddafi in good health, high spirits'

Spokesman says ousted leader is in Libya; French military source: Gaddafi, son might have joined convoy of Libyan vehicles arriving in Niger.

By REUTERS
September 6, 2011 05:38
2 minute read.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's location unknown

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Max Rossi/Files)

 
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Muammar Gaddafi is in good health and in good spirits somewhere in Libya, his spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said in remarks broadcast on Monday.

"He is in a place that will not be reached by those fractious groups, and he is in Libya," Moussa Ibrahim told the Syrian-owned Arrai TV in response to a question on the whereabouts of the Libyan leader ousted by rebels last month.

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He said Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, was also in Libya, moving around from one place to another.

Later on Monday, a large convoy of Libyan armored vehicles escorted by the Nigerien military arrived in the northern Niger desert town of Agadez, a French military source and a Niger military source told Reuters.

The convoy contained between 200 and 250 Libyan military vehicles and included officers from Libya's southern army battalions, and likely crossed from Libya into Algeria before entering Niger, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

The French military source said he had been told Muammar Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam might be considering joining the convoy en route to Burkina Faso, a landlocked West African state which has offered Gaddafi and his family asylum and has a border with Niger.



Gaddafi's entourage has been hit by numerous high-profile defections, arrests and killings since an uprising that has effectively ended his 42-year rule of the country.

The head of Muammar Gaddafi's security brigades, Mansour Dhao, along with more than 10 other Libyans, crossed into Niger on Sunday, two Niger officials said earlier on Monday.

Dhao's departure comes days after Gaddafi's wife and three of his children fled to Algeria and fighters for the ruling National Transitional Council arrested his foreign minister outside Tripoli.

The French military source said he had been told the commander of Libya's southern forces, General Ali Khana, may also be in Niger, not far from the Libyan border.

He said he had been told that Gaddafi and his son Saif would join Khana and catch up with the convoy should they choose to accept Burkina Faso's offer of exile.

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