TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya’s provisional government said on Saturday that opponents of Muammar Gaddafi may have taken control in the town of Bani Walid, where Gaddafi loyalists had been holding out and possibly hiding the former leader.
During a news conference in Tripoli, the interim oil minister Ali Tarhouni said: “The military council in Tripoli has just informed me a few minutes ago that there’s a possibility that Bani Walid will join the revolutionaries and it’s under the control of the revolutionaries.”
A source in Tripoli who has been in touch with people in the town, about 150 km (100 miles) southeast of the capital, told Reuters on Friday that tribal leaders there had been hoping to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the confrontation with forces loyal to the rebels who ousted Gaddafi last week.
Tarhouni gave no details of what had occurred on Saturday but said there had not been fighting at Bani Walid.
Asked if Gaddafi was in the town, as NTC military commanders have said they believe, Tarhouni said only: “As for Gaddafi himself...we know where he is.”
Reporting by Mohammed Abbas; Writing by Alastair Macdonald