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Gaddafi slams speculated escape to Niger in defiant audio message

(Xinhua)

16:17, September 08, 2011


Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi looks on during a news conference at the Quirinale palace in Rome in this June 10, 2009 file photo. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

DAMASCUS, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Libya's Muammar Gaddafi said in an audio message aired by Syria's Arrai TV Thursday that reports about his fleeing to Niger were lies and that the rebels and NATO would be defeated.

"They have nothing else to resort to apart from psychological warfare and lies," the embattled Libyan strongman told the TV station in a phone call that the broadcaster said was made from inside Libya.

Referring to a Libyan convoy that arrived in Niger days ago, Gaddafi said that the motorcade, which led to the speculation that he was hiding in one of the convoy's cars, was "not the first" in and out of the neighboring country.

"They want to weaken our morale," he said to his supporters. "Do not waste time on this weak and ignoble enemy."

Meanwhile, he said that the Libyan youth was "now ready to escalate the resistance" against the rebels in Tripoli and "to finish off the mercenaries."

"We will defeat NATO ... and NATO is rejected by the Libyan people," he said, stressing that the alliance's "logistical capacities will not allow it" to forge ahead with the military intervention.

Gaddafi's whereabouts remain unknown, and Thursday's message was his first in several days. Arrai TV had recently broadcast several audio messages attributed to Gaddafi.

Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC), which now controls most of Libya, has requested that Niger turn in officials of Gaddafi's government who had fled there.

Gaddafi's daughter Aisha, together with her mother Safiya and brothers Mohammed and Hannibal, arrived in neighboring Algeria last week. They were allowed to stay there by the Algerian government.

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