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Libya

Kadhafi's third son, Saadi, flees to Niger

3 min

Deposed Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's son Saadi has fled to Niger as forces loyal to Libya's new government struggle to overcome fierce resistance in the former leader's remaining strongholds. 

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A Niger government spokesman Marou Amadou said on Sunday that a patrol of Nigerien armed forces had intercepted a convoy carrying Saadi Kadhafi.

"At this moment the convoy is en route to Agadez (northern Niger). The convoy could arrive in Niamey between now and (Monday)," he added.

Saadi, aged-38, is the the third of Kadhafi's seven sons and has the reputation as a playboy. Known as the ‘footballer; after he was hired in 2003 to play for Italian first division club Perugia, he had barely kicked a ball when he was suspended for eight months after testing positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid.

THE BATTLE FOR LIBYA

He renounced his football career in 2004 to join the army, where he led was the head of the country’s armed forces.

Niamey has denied that Kadhafi himself is in the country.

National Transitional Council, NTC, fighters on Sunday clashed with Kadhafi's forces at Bani Walid southeast of Tripoli and moved closer to the Mediterranean city of Sirte, Kadhafi’s hometown.

Forces loyal to Libya's new rulers are gathered outside Bani Walid, 180 kilometres from the capital, awaiting the final signal from their commanders to storm the oasis town.

Clashes erupted Saturday afternoon in Bani Walid neighbourhoods of Al-Mansila and Al-Hawasim, according to fighter Ahmed al-Warfalli, but military commanders insisted that the main assault had yet to begin.

West of Sirte, an NTC field commander said that his forces had met fierce resistance as they advanced towards the city on Sunday. He added that his fighters would press on towards Sirte on Monday.

NTC forces have also been moving on the city from the east and last week captured the Red Valley, a key line of defence for Kadhafi loyalists.

Meanwhile, the NTC number two Mahmud Jibril said on Sunday that a transitional government would be formed within 10 days.

"This new government will include representatives from different regions in Libya," Jibril said, as the new regime faces mounting rivalries among the groups that overthrew Kadhafi.

Relations are particularly strained between Tripoli and the second-largest city Benghazi, which was the rebels' wartime base; and the third-largest city Misrata, which endured a prolonged siege by Kadhafi forces.

Anti-Kadhafi fighters in Misrata have started to challenge NTC authority, refusing to turn over abandoned tanks as requested by interim leaders.
 

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