Region | Libya

Gaddafi family members enter Algeria: report

Gaddafi's wife, daughter, sons, grandsons and assistants crossed the Algeria-Libyan border, according to report

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 23:00 August 29, 2011

Manama: Algeria has allowed 31 members of Gaddafi's family and helpers to enter the country, a local newspaper reported on Monday.

Gaddafi's wife, Safia, daughter Aisha, sons Hannibal and Mohammad as well as grandsons and assistants were in the convoy of seven vehicles that had to wait for 12 hours at the border in Illizi, the province bordering Libya before they were allowed in, Echorouk said in its online edition.

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Algeria's foreign ministry said in a statement that "the wife of Muammar Gaddafi, Sofia, his daughter Aisha, and sons Hannibal and Mohammad, accompanied by their children, entered Algeria at 08:45am (07:45 GMT) through the Algeria-Libyan border."

The Algerian foreign ministry in the statement published by the Algerian Press Service news agency gave no further information, but said that it conveyed the information to the United Nations Secretary General, the president of the UN Security Council and to Mahmood Jibril, the head of Libya's Transitional National Council.

Echorouk, quoting sources it did not identify, said that Aisha was nine-month pregnant and was in a critical condition, a fact that weighed heavily in the decision made by the Algerian authorities to provide assistance and allow the convoy in.

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According to the daily, the convoy reached the border early on Monday, but the border police kept them until around noon when they received clearance from the highest authorities in the country at around noon. The decision was based on the need to provide humanitarian assistance for asylum seekers, the daily said.

The daily said that Algeria also based its decision to receive the fugitives on the fact that neither Gaddafi's wife nor sons or daughter were wanted by the The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC).

The court has approved warrants for the arrest of Gaddafi, his son Saif Al Islam, and Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah Al Senoussi on charges of crimes against humanity.

The family members and their helpers are expected to remain in Illizi. The sources ruled out they would be moved up to Algiers, the capital.

The sources speculated that the family's move towards Algeria was prompted by the tight control the Libyan rebels imposed on the country's borders with Tunisia, Chad and Egypt.

Wanted list

Meanwhile, one of Gaddafi's sons may be placed on the war crimes court's most wanted list, the prosecutor told Reuters on Monday.

The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) has already approved warrants for the arrest of Gaddafi, his son Saif Al Islam, and Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah Al Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he may also apply for an arrest warrant for Gaddafi's son Khamis, after Human Rights Watch said members of the Khamis Brigade, a force commanded by him, appeared to have carried out summary executions of detainees whose bodies were found in a warehouse in Tripoli.

"We know Khamis should also be prosecuted because Khamis was the commander of the brigade that was more active on some of the crimes," Moreno-Ocampo told Reuters in a telephone interview, adding that he did not rule out the possibility of seeking an arrest warrant for him and for others.

"We will see because the Libyans are willing to investigate some cases themselves. We will see what happens."

Moreno-Ocampo said a UN Human Rights Council commission would conduct further investigations on the ground in Libya soon and that he would base his decisions on the results. 

With input from agencies
 

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