Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Confirmed: Gaddafi Family No Longer in Algeria | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Aisha Gaddafi. (EPA Photo)

Aisha Gaddafi. (EPA Photo)

Aisha Gaddafi. (EPA Photo)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Officials have confirmed that the family of the late Muammar Gaddafi are no longer present in Algeria, having taken up residence in a third as yet unconfirmed Arab state. This represents official confirmation of the story first run by Asharq Al-Awsat in November of last year that the Gaddafi family had left Algeria.

Algerian ambassador to Libya, Abdel-Hamid Bouzaher confirmed that the Gaddafi family left Libya a long time ago, adding that no Gaddafi family member is present on Algerian territory today.

Asharq Al-Awsat had previously reported that the Gaddafi family members who had been present in Algeria had left the country for a third unnamed Arab country.

A well-informed Libyan source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, revealed that this Arab country had granted Muammar Gaddafi’s widow; Safia Farkash; his children, Aisha, Mohamed, and Hannibal; and their children, political asylum. The source added that the Gaddafi family members had pledged not to get involved in any anti-government political or media activity while present in the country.

He also revealed that this had taken place with the full knowledge of the Libyan and Algerian authorities, adding that the Gaddafi family members had been granted diplomatic passports to travel.

A Libyan official emphasized that this third Arab state had not taken a controversial position towards the Libyan revolution, adding that the Gaddafi family members had preferred to seek asylum in an Arab country, rather than an African or European one. Speculation now abounds that the country in question is the Sultanate of Oman.

A Zintan official informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “numerous sources inside Libya confirm that the Gaddafi family is present in the Sultanate of Oman.”

He added: “Aline Skaff, wife of Hannibal Gaddafi, has returned to Lebanon accompanied by her son, however Aisha Gaddafi and her mother, Safia Farkash, are in Oman, along with Gaddafi’s eldest son Mohammed.” He claimed that the Gaddafi family was staying in one of Oman’s diplomatic enclaves.

A second Libyan source, also speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, claimed that Saadi Gaddafi is preparing to leave Niger—where he has resided since fleeing the country—under pressure from the Libyan government, which is seeking his arrest. The source said that Saadi could seek to join the rest of his family in Oman, or travel to a third African country to avoid Libyan extradition attempts.

Speaking from the Libyan capital, the source emphasized that the Libyan authorities are turning up the pressure on Saadi Gaddafi who is wanted on charges of misappropriating public property, in addition to allegations of armed intimidation when he headed the Libyan Football Federation. An Interpol red notice was issued against him in in September 2011.

Fayez Jibril, a well-known Libyan dissident who is set to become the country’s new ambassador to Egypt, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the issue of securing wanted Gaddafi-era officials is becoming increasingly complex, particularly with regards to those present in Egypt. He said this issue has become a source of contention between Egypt’s combative political parties.

He stressed that Arab Spring states have every right to bring former regime officials who have committed financial, political, and humanitarian crimes to account, adding that Egypt should understand this.

He revealed that the Libyan authorities have made repeated request for the extradition of Gaddafi-era officials present in the country, adding that Cairo should not view such figures as political refugees.

Egyptian police last week arrested Ahmed Gaddaf Al-Dam, Tripoli’s special envoy to Cairo. Egypt’s Prosecutor-General ordered his detention for 30 days while charges against him are investigated.

Jibril stressed that “Gaddaf Al-Dam was one of the pillars of the [Gaddafi] regime and he is involved in a series of crimes against the Libyan people, and he should be tried for all the crimes that he committed against the people over a period of forty years.”