Gaddafi son arrest reports 'baffling'

2011-08-23 09:58

Tripoli - "Don't worry, it's an armoured vehicle," the driver tells the three reporters in the back of the BMW as they set off to interview Saif al-Islam, whom Libyan rebels claimed they had arrested.

Being invited to interview the influential son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was surprising enough as the world was told he had fallen into the hands of the rebels when they surged into Tripoli on Sunday in a final drive to oust his father.

Even more baffling was that International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo had confirmed the arrest and said he was in discussions with Libya's opposition to secure the Saif's transfer to the ICC, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity.

Driving through the darkened streets of the capital, which the rebels claim is 95% under their control, merely adds to the sense of mystery.

With little lighting due to power cuts, the empty streets where fighting had raged on Sunday and Monday between rebels and Gaddafi’s forces look unfamiliar and foreboding.

During what turns out to be a trip of just 2km- between the Hotel Rixos where many foreign media are housed and Gaddafi’s Bab al-Azizya compound - the driver becomes erratic, sometimes snuffing the headlights, other times accelerating wildly, or suddenly slowing.

Finally the vehicle arrives at one of the entrances to Gaddafi’s sprawling residence, which bears the ragged scars of repeated bombings by the warplanes of Nato, which is backing Libya's rebellion.

The driver is forced to drive on the pavement to avoid a concrete barrier.

The guards open the gates. The journalists are in the heart of Bab al-Aziziya where rumours are circulating of imminent fresh bombings by Natojets.

Dozens of pickups and 4x4s, on which machineguns or anti-aircraft guns are mounted, line the route.


The car eventually stops in front of the "house of resistance" - the ruins of a building bombed in 1996 by American warplanes in raids which killed Gaddafi’s adopted daughter.

Several dozen regime supporters, thinking Gaddafi’s son has come, begin chanting slogans and waving the Libyan flag.

"Allah, Muammar, Libya and that's it," they chant, brandishing pictures of Saif and his father before peering into the vehicle and finding journalists, but still not moving away from the car.

Saif, sporting a khaki T-shirt, arrives in an armoured 4x4.

"Get in, quickly" one of the men accompanying him tells the journalists pointing to another 4x4.

The vehicles stop after a few hundred metres next to an empty field lit by lamps.

Everyone gets out and Saif accompanied by his guards goes into the meeting with the journalists.

Some loyalists attach a green Libyan flag behind the chair where Saif is to sit. On a coffee table, they place a small Libyan flag, a Koran and a copy of Gaddafi’s Green Book, the 1975 text in which he laid out his philosophy.

"Did you see the fighting today?" Saif asks with a smile.

"No we only heard the sound" of fighting, replied one of the journalists, who like about 30 other members of the foreign media are confined to a hotel which has been deserted by staff and has seen no electricity or water for two days.

Read more on:    saif gaddafi  |  muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa  |  uprisings  |  libya protests

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.