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Gaddafi's camp sends conflicting messages to rebels

(Xinhua)

08:53, September 01, 2011

CAIRO, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- In an audio tape broadcast on a Syrian TV channel, Saif al-Islam, the second son of toppled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Wednesday urged Gaddafi's loyalists to continue resistance against the rebels, while his younger brother, Saadi, sent a contradictory message, saying he was authorized by his father to negotiate with the rebels to end the bloodshed in Libya.

In a tape broadcast on the Damascus-based Al-Rai television, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said he was staying in a suburb of Tripoli and the resistance was continuing with a victory nearing.

Saif also vowed to soon "liberate" the Green Square in Tripoli from the rebels' control.

He claimed that there are more than 20,000 armed youths in Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown, and one of the few towns still in the hands of the former Libyan leader's forces.

Saif added that his father is doing well, without giving clues about where he currently is.

In a conflicting sign from Gaddafi's camp, the former leader's third son, Saadi, said Wednesday that he had talked with a member of the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) in Tripoli by phone on ending the bloodshed in Libya, al-Arabiya TV reported.

Saadi said that he was authorized by his father to contact the rebels, and that Gaddafi's government "acknowledges" that the NTC represents "a legal party."

But voices from the rebels seem to indicate that Saadi could be a window for penetration, as they were reportedly saying Wednesday that Saadi's life would be safe should he surrender. Yet, latest information showed Saadi was still reluctant to give himself away.

In a related development, Libyan rebels said Gaddafi's foreign minister Abdelati Obeidi, who replaced defected Mussa Kussa about two months into the Libyan turmoil, had been arrested at his farm in Janzour, a suburb west of Tripoli, al-Jazeera television reported Wednesday.

Rebel military spokesman Col. Ahmed Bani said last Sunday at a news conference that Gaddafi's youngest son Khamis might have been shot a day before in his car, among a convoy of Mercedes, by rebel troops some 80 km southeast to Tripoli, but Bani added he could not confirm the death.

In an unconfirmed report on its website, Algeria's French- language newspaper El Watan said Wednesday Muammar Gaddafi was staying in a town on the Libyan-Algerian border waiting for permission to enter Algeria.

Quoting sources from the Algerian president's office, the report said Gaddafi was in Ghadames, an oasis town in west Libya, accompanied by the rest of his family.

Gaddafi had tried to negotiate with the Algerian authorities on his entry into Algeria, the report said, adding that Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika refused to answer Gaddafi's phone calls.

Instead, a presidential aide apologized to Gaddafi and told him Bouteflika was busy, said the report, which can not be immediately confirmed.

The whereabouts of Gaddafi and his two sons, Saif and Saadi, have been misty since the rebels overrun his military compound, Bab al-Aziziya, in Tripoli on Aug. 23.

Gaddafi's wife Safia, his daughter Aisha, his sons Hannibal and Mohammed, accompanied by their children, entered Algeria at 08:45 a.m. local time (0745 GMT) through the Algerian-Libyan border, the Algerian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday.


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