Gaddafi’s intelligence chief in Niger

2011-10-27 09:13

Dakar – Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence chief, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, has slipped into the desert nation of Niger and is hiding in the expanse of dunes at the Niger-Algeria border, a Niger presidential adviser said.

Abdullah al-Senoussi entered Niger several days ago in a convoy piloted by Tuaregs, the traditional desert dwellers who remained fiercely loyal to Gaddafi until the end, the adviser, who could not be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, told The Associated Press late on Wednesday by telephone from Niger.

Al-Senoussi, Gaddafi’s long serving intelligence chief, long played a key role in maintaining Gaddafi’s control in Libya. A much less public presence than flamboyant Gaddafi, al-Senoussi is believed to have been the mind behind the most brutal crackdowns on perceived threats to the regime.

The Niger official — an influential leader of the Tuareg community — said he is in touch with Tuaregs that are in contact with the convoy. Al-Senoussi is one of two surviving members of the Gaddafi regime that are the subjects of international arrest warrants. The second is Gadhafi's son and heir apparent Seif al-Islam, whom the official said is also in the area, but is still in the triangle of sand just north of the Niger border, between Libya and Algeria.

"Senoussi? He's already in Niger, but he's not near the towns," the official said. "Where is he headed? We don't have any details on that. In any case, he can't come to the towns [without getting caught]. He entered sometime ago — it's been a few days. He's hiding. His driver? Other Tuaregs," he said. "They [Senoussi and Saif al-Islam] are travelling in separate convoys."

The information was confirmed by Serge Hiltron, owner of Radio Nomad, a radio station operating in Niger's north, a region dominated by the Tuaregs.

"It's like the story of the cat and the mouse, and we're waiting for him [al-Senoussi] to come out of his hole. He can't stay there forever," Hiltron said by telephone from the northern town of Agadez. "For them [al-Senoussi and Saif al-Islam] the area that is safest is this buffer zone between Algeria, Libya and Niger — it's the most secure. But they can't stay there forever. With the protection of the Tuaregs they can last a while though."

Foreign aid

Niger's government spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. His assistant, communications adviser Ousmane Toudou, said there had been no official statement as of late Wednesday.

The Tuaregs in Niger as well as in Mali have led repeated rebellions against the governments of those countries which were reportedly financed by Gaddafi.

During the drawn-out battle for control of Libya, hundreds of Tuareg youth from both Mali and Niger enlisted in Libya's army to try protect Gaddafi’s grip on power.

Niger's government has publicly said that they will abide by their obligation to the International Criminal Court and hand over any members of the Gaddafi regime wanted for war crimes. The country's democratically elected government is heavily dependent on foreign aid, but its people have long supported Gaddafi.

In May, the International Criminal Court in the Hague issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and al-Senoussi, accusing them of crimes against humanity for targeting civilians during the Libyan civil war.

The three men ordered, planned and participated in illegal attacks, the court's chief prosecutor said, sending forces to attack civilians in their homes, shoot at demonstrators with live ammunition, shell funeral processions and deploy snipers to kill people leaving mosques. Gaddafi was killed in his hometown of Sirte on October 20.

Ongoing discussions

In Washington, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said she couldn't confirm al-Senoussi's whereabouts. But she said the US was in ongoing discussions with Libya's neighbours on protecting their borders and detaining individuals who are wanted by the International Criminal Court.

Asked about reports that al-Senoussi and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi wish to surrender, Nuland said the US was urging Libyan authorities that "when any Libyans with blood on their hands are apprehended, that they be treated in a manner that is just and meets international standards".

Al-Senoussi is also Gaddafi’s brother-in-law through a marriage some say Gaddafi orchestrated to shore up support for his regime. Al-Senoussi is from Libya's south and a member of the Magarha tribe, one of the country's largest. Placing al-Senoussi in his inner circle was a way for Gadhafi to recruit Libyans who may not have originally supported a leader from a small, northern tribe.

Al-Senoussi's whereabouts have been unclear since the war's start, though he is believed to have helped command the regime's efforts to quash the uprising. Anti-Gaddafi fighters, however, reported seeing al-Senoussi in late August, after rebels seized Tripoli, in the southern city of Sabha, where he had set up a mourning tent for his son, who was killed in the war. The report could not be independently confirmed.

- AP

Read more on:    tuaregs  |  icc  |  muammar gaddafi  |  saif al-islam gaddafi  |  libya  |  libya protests  |  north africa  |  uprisings
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
0 comments
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
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
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!

Kalahari.com - 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 kalahari.com. 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 kalahari.com’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

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2395.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

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

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

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.