Thursday, 1 September 2011

Kaddafi in desert town: military

 Updated at: 1617 PST, Thursday, September 01, 2011
Kaddafi in desert town: military TRIPOLI: Muammar Kaddafi is in a desert town outside Tripoli planning a fightback, a Libyan military chief said on Thursday, as Libya's interim rulers conferred with world powers on reshaping a nation torn by 42 years of one-man rule and six months of war.

Abdel Majid Mlegta, coordinator of the Tripoli military operations room, told Reuters "someone we trust" had said Kaddafi fled to Bani Walid, 150 km (95 miles) southeast of the capital, with his son Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senoussi three days after Tripoli fell last week.

"They wanted to set up an operations room there and conduct aggressive operations against us," he said. "We have talked to notables from Bani Walid to arrest him and hand him over. They haven't responded. We are assessing our position."

Mlegta said Ali al-Ahwal, Kaddafi's coordinator for tribes, was also in Bani Walid, a stronghold of the powerful Warfalla tribe, Libya's biggest at about a million strong among a population of six million, but by no means solidly pro-Kaddafi.

"In four days we will come with up a solution. We are capable of ending the crisis but military action is out of the question right now," Mlegta said.

"We cannot attack this tribe because many of our brigades in Benghazi and Zintan are from Bani Walid. The sons of Bani Walid hold the key to the solution."

Fighters of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) said this week that they were 30 km from Bani Walid. The council has given pro-Kaddafi forces in the coastal city of Sirte until Saturday to surrender or face force.

The war may not be over until Kaddafi is killed or captured, but Libyans are keen to move on. (Reuters)

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