TRIPOLI Oct 10 Fugitive Muammar Gaddafi may be
hiding in a remote and thinly-populated area surrounded by
mountains in an attempt to frustrate efforts to track him, a
representative of Libya's ruling National Transitional Council
(NTC) said on Monday.
Gaddafi has been on the run since NTC forces surged into
Tripoli on August 23 and has eluded capture along with two
Mousa Alkoni, NTC representative for the nomadic Tuareg
tribe, said the ousted leader might be moving around a "prism"
of the country's vast southern deserts that straddles Libya,
Algeria and Niger.
"We fear that they may have taken refuge in this area as
it's well secured by the surrounding mountains and it used to be
a refuge for Gaddafi troops in the past," Alkoni said, speaking
to reporters in Arabic through a translator.
"They can even build up a small city -- or a small country
-- in this area without anybody really realizing ... I do
recommend sending out choppers to these areas or unmanned jets."
Alkoni denied Tuareg were helping the ousted leader.
The NTC official leading the hunt for the Gaddafi -- who
often boasts of his Bedouin heritage -- has said he is hiding
near the western town of Ghadames beside the Algerian border.
Gaddafi's daughter Aisha, her brothers Hannibal and
Mohammed, their mother Safia and several other family members
fled to Algeria in August and have lived there since.
Another son, Saadi, is in Niger.
"They can easily roam around this area, north, west, south,
east," Alkoni said, adding that Gaddafi may be criss-crossing
the long and porous borders between the three countries.
NTC officials have made capturing Gaddafi and his family and
putting them on trial a key priority of their efforts to take
control of the whole country and prepare for elections.
British defence secretary, Liam Fox, told Reuters on
Saturday that Britain was helping the NTC to track convoys of
vehicles moving around Libya's deserts.
(Editing by Andrew Heavens)