Wanted: Interpol issues arrest warrant for Gaddafi and son
Published 09/09/2011 | 12:56
Interpol has issued arrest warrants for Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam.
A warrant has also been issued for the arrest of his intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, Interpol confirmed in a statement.
The request to the Lyon-based police organisation was made by the International Criminal Court (ICC) yesterday.
"As far as Interpol's general secretariat headquarters is concerned, Muammar Gaddafi is a fugitive whose country of nationality and the ICC want arrested and held accountable for the serious criminal charges that have been brought against him," said Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble in a statement.
Arrest warrants for all three were also issued in June for crimes against humanity.
Meanwhile, Libya's new rulers have dedicated a special unit of fighters to track down former leader Muammar Gaddafi, listening in on his aides' phone calls, poring over satellite images and interviewing witnesses.
Although leads come mostly from on-the-ground tips, help is also coming from France and other Western countries, according to a French intelligence official. Satellite-based transmission intercepts of suspicious phone calls try to pinpoint where Gaddafi might be. Small CIA teams are also assisting in the manhunt, according to former US officials.
Gaddafi, who hasn't been seen in public for months, went underground after anti-regime fighters swept into Tripoli on August 21. Capturing him would allow the former rebels to seal their grip on the country and shut the door on the possibility of Gaddafi inspiring an insurgency against the new leaders.
After more than four decades under his authoritarian rule, Libyans are haunted by the question of Gaddafi's whereabouts, and the country has been awash with rumours that have put him everywhere from deep in a bunker under Tripoli to safe in exile in neighbouring Niger or Algeria. Yesterday Gaddafi himself dismissed talk of his flight, saying in an audio broadcast that he's still in Libya, and exhorting followers to keep fighting.
An anti-Gaddafi fighter said revolutionary forces stormed a villa on Tripoli's outskirts last week acting on a tip.
The fighter, who took part in the operation, said they believe Gaddafi was at the villa and escaped less than an hour before the raid through a secret tunnel. Computers were on and cups of tea were still warm, he said, indicating the occupants had just fled.