Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – More than a year after the Gaddafi family fled Libya following the collapse of the Gaddafi regime, the family continues to look for refuge, with its members being scattered amongst numerous Arab and African states. A high-ranking Libyan source informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the members of the Gaddafi family present in Algeria, with the exception of his widow Safia Farkash, left the country for a third country, refusing to reveal further details at the present time.
The senior Libyan source, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, revealed that most members of the Gaddafi family, including eldest son Mohamed Gaddafi, Hannibal Gaddafi and Aisha Gaddafi, had left Algeria. He said that the Algerian authorities had informed their Libyan counterparts of this information late yesterday.
The source also revealed that the Libyan authorities had agreed to allow Muammar Gaddafi’s widow, Safia Farkash, to return to her hometown al-Bayda in north-eastern Libya. The Libyan source said that there are no security restrictions preventing the former first lady from returning to Libya as she has not been implicated in any crimes committed by the former regime, whilst she never involved herself in politics.
The Libyan National Transitional Council, which handed over power to the General National Congress, repeatedly demanded that Algeria hand over the Gaddafi family or at least prevent them from issuing statements to the media, particularly Gaddafi’s outspoken daughter, Aisha.
Algeria refused to hand over the Gaddafi family to Tripoli, however Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci, upon visiting Libya earlier this year, pledged to prevent the Gaddafi family from meddling in Libyan affairs. Attempting to repair the damaged relations between Algeria and Libya, Medelci said “Algeria took them (Gaddafi family members) in on humanitarian grounds. At the same time we will never allow them to interfere in Libyan affairs.”
Khamis Gaddafi, the seventh and youngest son of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, was reported killed earlier this year in clashes with regime forces in the Bani Walid area, a year to the day that rebel forces killed his father. Khamis, who had been reported dead several times before, was known as one of the most hardline of Gaddafi’s sons and was commander of the “Khamis” Brigade which played a major role in the attempts to suppress the burgeoning Libyan revolution.
Mutassim Gaddafi, the only other Gaddafi son to have been killed, was captured when Sirte fell to advancing rebel forces in October 2011. Film and photographs of Mutassim Gaddafi show him alive and uninjured, smoking a cigarette, after being captured. The next images of Gaddafi’s fourth son – who died on the same day as his father – show him sprawled dead on a stretcher, shot in the neck and chest.
Following the fall of the Gaddafi regime, Saadi Gaddafi sought refuge in Niger, which has refused repeated bids to extradite him. Former heir apparent, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, is in Libyan custody and awaiting trial. He is accused of being responsible for murder and persecution, and International Criminal Court [ICC] indictments have been issued against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to this effect. The whereabouts of the Colonel’s adopted daughter, Hana, who had been believed killed in an American attack, remain unknown. Following the collapse of the regime, it was revealed that Hana Gaddafi – who the Libyan leader claimed had been killed in a 1986 US air strike against Tripoli – had survived the attack and gone on to become a doctor.