Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, fearing for his life if captured in Libya, has tried to arrange for an aircraft to fly him out of his desert refuge and into the custody of The Hague war crimes court, a senior Libyan official said.
Details were sketchy but a picture has built up since his father’s killing while in the hands of ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters a week ago that suggests Moammar Gadhafi’s 39-year-old heir-apparent has taken refuge among Sahara nomads and is seeking a safe haven abroad.
The NTC official said Saif al-Islam had crossed into Niger but had not yet found a way to hand himself in to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
“There is a contact with Mali and with South Africa and with another neighbouring country to organize his exit … He hasn’t got confirmation yet, he’s still waiting,” said the official, who declined to be named.
There was no independent verification of his comments.
Even if Saif can still draw on some of the vast fortune the Gadhaficlan built up abroad during 42 years in control of North Africa’s main oilfields, his indictment by the ICC over his part in trying to crush this year’s revolt limits his options.
That may explain an apparent willingness, in communications monitored by intelligence services and shared with Libya’s interim rulers, to discuss a surrender to the ICC, whereas his mother and surviving siblings simply fled to Algeria and Niger.