Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Libyan sources confirmed that the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi will not leave Tripoli, except as a dead body. They said: “He will not go to Sirte, where his tribe is located, and will not leave to go anywhere else. He will stay in Tripoli to fight until death.”
The sources, who are associated with the family of the Libyan leader, told Asharq Al-Awsat over the telephone from Tripoli: “The leader emphasized in his recent speech that he is staying in Tripoli, and said that if the Libyan people do not love him, then he does not deserve to live for one day, and he meant what he said”. The sources denied reports that Gaddafi intends to leave for Sirte, to stay under the protection of his tribe (the Gaddafi Tribe).
The sources stressed that Gaddafi and his sons are active in Tripoli, saying: “Gaddafi and his sons are acting as normal in Tripoli, and are being guarded in the usual fashion. Gaddafi is escorted by five or six protection vehicles, and his sons move in two vehicles, one for them and the other for the guards.” The sources said that Gaddafi’s speech on Friday was delivered from the walls of the Red Castle, which is adjacent to the Green Square in Tripoli, in an attempt to prove that he is present in Tripoli, and that he does not fear appearing in public among the people.
The sources said that a battalion of the Libyan Army, named “Muhammad Battalion”, has been tasked with protecting Bab al-Azizia, where Gaddafi’s residence is located. The sources added: “The situation in Tripoli is calm throughout the day, and as soon as night falls, some mercenaries come out in cars patrolling Tripoli’s neighborhoods. They open fire in the air to spread panic and fear, but the police and army forces soon confront them”. The sources pointed out that the Libyan Army, on the night before last, had arrested several African mercenaries, who were patrolling in a German-made car, in possession of a large quantity of weapons. The sources said: “This refutes allegations put forward by the rebels, claiming that the regime is siding with these mercenaries.”
The sources said that activities inside Tripoli are normal, except for some attempts to destabilize security in the Libyan capital from time to time. Yet these have been confronted by citizens, who have formed “popular committees” to defend their property.
The sources affiliated to Gaddafi’s family denied the existence of a food crisis in Libya, saying: “There is no shortage of food. In late January, the state purchased a large quantity of grain and flour, and all food items are available in stores. I am even eating a banana whilst talking to you.”
The sources played down reports of certain individuals defecting from the Gaddafi regime, having once been close affiliates. The latest to do so was Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, and the sources said: “Gadhaf al-Dam was close to Gaddafi by virtue of kinship, but he did not hold a senior security or political post. The leader has created for him the position of Coordinator of Libyan-Egyptian Relations, so that he is able to stay in Egypt for long periods of time. He wishes to live near his maternal uncles, who are Egyptians from the Awlad Ali Tribe, and live in the Matrouh Governorate, on the border with Libya.”