Did Gaddafi flee to Algeria in cloak-and-dagger desert escape with family?

Algiers, Aug 30: Estranged Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s family members have reportedly been smuggled out to Algeria in a cloak-and-dagger operation, but there are no confirmed reports whether or not Gaddafi was among them.

Gaddafi’s wife Safiya, her sons Mohammed and Hannibal and daughter Ayesha were reached Algeria yesterday morning, the Daily Mail reports.

Algerian authorities refused to reveal if the dictator was with his family, sparking furious accusations that they had allowed the ‘Mad Dog’ of Libya to escape justice.

The Italian news agency ANSA cited ‘authoritative Libyan diplomatic sources’ as saying that Gaddafi and his sons Saadi and Saif al-Islam are still in the town of Bani Walid south of Tripoli.

Although the foreign ministry in Algiers had earlier denied reports that a motorcade of six armoured Mercedes cars had entered the country, reports now have suggested that those vehicles might have contained Gaddafi’s wife with Mohammed, 41, Hannibal, 35, Ayesha, 34, and their partners and children. ccording to Algerian authorities, they left Tripoli on Sunday afternoon, and arrived in Algeria at 8.45am (local time) yesterday.

Algerian Foreign Minister Amar Belan has said in a statement that his country had adhered to a policy of ‘strict neutrality’ throughout the Libya crisis and respects ‘the decision of every person under its sovereignty’. He further added that Algeria has no intention to ‘interfere in any manner whatsoever in the internal affairs’ of Libya.

Rebel leaders in Tripoli immediately accused the Algerians of supporting the ousted regime, saying that sheltering the Gaddafi family was an ‘act of aggression’ against the new Libyan government.

The rebel-led National Transitional Council (NTC) said it would try to extradite any Gaddafi relatives from its North African neighbour. (ANI)