Confusion over Mutassim Gaddafi’s fate
There are conflicting reports in Libya about the fate of one of ousted leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s sons.
Some figures from the National Transitional Council (NTC) told news agencies Mutassim Gaddafi had been seized in the family’s embattled hometown of Sirte.
However, officials in the NTC stronghold of Benghazi could not confirm the claims, which have sparked celebratory gunfire in several cities.
NTC forces say they now control most of Sirte, following fierce fighting.
There have been false reports of the capture of senior Gaddafi figures in the past, including another son, Saif al-Islam, and Gaddafi spokesman Moussa Ibrahim.
But if confirmed, Mutassim Gaddafi’s capture would be a major breakthrough for the NTC, says the BBC’s Caroline Hawley in Tripoli.
He is a senior officer in Col Gaddafi’s army and was a national security advisor to his father.
The NTC would want to question him as to the whereabouts of his father and other family members such as Saif and another son Khamis – both in Col Gaddafi’s inner circle – analysts say.
Col Gaddafi is believed to be somewhere in Libya’s southern deserts. His supporters are also holding out in the town of Bani Walid.
Reuters news agency quotes NTC officials as saying Mutassim was captured as he tried to escape Sirte in a car with a family. The officials said he had been taken to Benghazi and was being held in a military camp.
Colonel Abdullah Naker told Reuters that he had been seized yesterday.
NTC advisor Abdelkarim Bizama told AFP news agency that Mutassim “was captured at Sirte and was transferred to Benghazi” yesterday.
Mutassim Gaddafi’s presence in the city, and that of several other senior figures in the former regime, is believed to be responsible for the fierce resistance the anti-Gaddafi fighters have encountered. (BBC)