Muscat: Oman has granted the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s widow and her family asylum on humanitarian grounds, an official at the foreign ministry was quoted as saying in Omani media.

The move comes in coordination with the Libyan government and the Algerian government following a pledge by the Gaddafi family that they will not use Oman as a base for political or media activity.

The family, consisting of Gaddafi’s widow Safiyyah Farkash, daughter Aisha and sons Mohammad and Hannibal, as well as their children, has been living in Oman since October, 2012, and their expenses are being covered entirely by the Omani government, according to Omani newspapers.

The family members have also been given diplomatic passports by the government to ease travel.

Gaddafi’s three children had sought asylum in Algeria in August 2011, and had been living there until they moved to Oman.

Asked why the Omani government had refrained from announcing the granting of asylum earlier, the foreign ministry official said the government did not want to boast about the humanitarian gesture, adding that it was in line with Oman’s thinking and its foreign policy, as reported in Al Shabiba daily.

A Libyan official is reported to have said that the family preferred to move to an Arab country as opposed to an African country or any of the European countries that the Gaddafi regime had close relations with. Sa’adi Gaddafi is currently believed to be living in Niger and Saif Al Islam is under detention in the Libyan city of Zintan.

Safia was Gaddafi’s second wife. Mohammad is Gaddafi’s eldest son. He surrendered to rebel forces in August 2011. Hannibal reportedly has a history of abuse and violence.

He and his wife were arrested in Switzerland in 2008 for alleged abuse of their maid, and a maid that was found in their abandoned home last year was found with marks of torture.

Aisha is a former UN Goodwill Ambassador, and was part of the legal defence team of the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussain.