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May 19, 2022

Libyans celebrate capture of Gadhafi’s son Saif al-Islam, world calls for fair trial

TRIPOLI – Libyans celebrated late into the evening Saturday the reported capture of Moammar Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, nabbed in a desert gunbattle after an 18-day stakeout, CNN informs. Senior Libyan military officials said they believe the potential Gadhafi successor was trying to make his way to neighboring Niger, where a brother, Saadi, was granted asylum.

Revolutionary fighters caught the man wanted by the International Criminal Court between the southwestern oasis town of Obari and southern town of Sabha, military commanders in Tripoli said.

The 39-year-old, the last Gadhafi fugitive, was taken to the city of Zintan in the western mountains. Top officials in the town rejoiced over the development. Saif al-Islam had been on the run since shortly after the fall of his father’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in the capital in August.

The ICC in the Netherlands wants Saif al-Islam for alleged crimes against humanity, including murder, committed during the uprising this year. The prime minister of Libya has vowed a fair trial for Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam after his capture while trying to flee to Niger. Abdurrahim al-Keib gave the assurance after visiting the northern town of Zintan, where he was being held after being detained in the desert, BBC reports. On the other hand The Guardian reports that the man who led the fighters that captured Saif al-Islam has said that the late dictator’s son tried to escape arrest by pretending to be a camel herder.

“When we caught him, he said, ‘My name is Abdul Salem, a camel keeper,’” said commander Ahmed Amur on Sunday. “It was crazy.”

His unit, from Zintan’s Abu Bakar al-Sadiq brigade, had been patrolling the vast southern desert of Libya for more than a month when it was given a tip-off late last week that Saif al-Islam was close to the town of Obari.

“We knew it was a VIP target, we did not know who,” said Amur, who worked as a professor of marine biology in Tripoli before the war.

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