Confusion over fate of key aide Ibrahim as Gaddafi son is killed

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 October, 2012, 3:37am

A son of toppled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been killed in fighting between militias, broadcaster Libya TV reported, as confusion swirled yesterday over the fate of one of Gaddafi senior's most-wanted former aides, Mussa Ibrahim.

Khamis Gaddafi, 29, a former military commander, had previously been reported killed during the uprising against his father's regime. Saturday was the anniversary of the killing of Muammar Gaddafi in his birthplace, Misurata.

A Libya TV reporter, who himself was wounded in the fighting in Bani Walid, Libya, said on Saturday that he had seen Khamis Gaddafi's body. Bani Walid was one of the regime's last strongholds during the 2011 revolution.

The Libyan Army had launched an attack on Saturday against armed groups in Bani Walid after a siege of more than two weeks. Five government soldiers were wounded in the clash, which saw government forces capture a tank from the militia.

Army forces had besieged the town while tribal leaders tried to broker a peaceful solution between the two sides. Sporadic clashes left scores of troops and civilians dead.

The government had announced on Saturday that Ibrahim had been captured in the western town of Tarhuna, between Bani Walid and Tripoli, exactly a year after Gaddafi was himself captured and killed.

But later a government spokesman said there was no confirmation of the capture and an audiotape surfaced on the internet purportedly of Ibrahim himself denying the report.

During the conflict last year in Libya, Ibrahim held regular press conferences for international journalists in Tripoli. His whereabouts had been unknown since rebels took over Tripoli in August 2011.

Mohammed Magarief, head of Libya's National Congress, said on state television: "The campaign to liberate the country has not been fully completed.

"Bani Walid's misfortune is that it has become a sanctuary for a large number of outlaws and anti-revolutionaries and mercenaries," Magarief said.

Many Libyans are persuaded that heavyweight personalities of the previous regime, including Gaddafi's son Khamis, took shelter in Bani Walid after the end of the 2011 conflict.

Social networking sites were abuzz yesterday with rumours of the capture of Gaddafi loyalists. The confusion is rooted in a government denial late Saturday and the posting on Facebook of an audiotape in which a man who identifies himself as Ibrahim paid tribute to Gaddafi.

"On the subject of my arrest today, it is an attempt to draw attention away from the crimes committed by Nato's rebels against our people in Bani Walid," said the man in the tape, whose authenticity could not immediately be confirmed.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse