Gaddafi’s Son Saadi Flees To Niger; Zoo Animals Finally Get Aid in Tripoli
The third of Muammar el-Gaddafi’s seven sons, Saadi, has fled to Niger, says Al Jazeera. Authorities in Niger reported on Sunday that they had intercepted a convoy of about eight or nine vehicles crossing the desert that separates it from Libya. Marou Adamou, Niger’s government spokesman and also its minister of justice, confirmed that the convoy is in Niger and could arrive in the country’s capital, Niamey, by Monday. Amadou also said that Saadi and others with him are being allowed into the country on “humanitarian grounds,” says the BBC.
While Niger has recognized the ex-rebels’ National Transitional Council, the country has said that it has not yet decided if it might allow Gaddafi to enter its borders. The US has urged Niger to detain any individuals who the NTC is seeking to prosecute, and to confiscate any weapons and money.
Al Jazeera describes Saadi as a “playboy who renounced a football career in 2004 to join the army, where he led an elite unit.” The BBC lists all eight of Gaddafi’s children and their whereabouts, to the extent that those are known, and also has a diagram of the family.
Also on Sunday, the head of Gaddafi’s external security organization and a former prime minister in the 1990s, Bouzaid Dorda, was arrested in Tripoli. Dorda served as Libya’s ambassador to the United Nations until 2003.
The head of the NTC’s cabinet and “prime minister,” Mahmoud Jibril, has said that in ten days an interim government will be formed. Jalil al-Galal, an NTC spokesman in Tripoli, said that resistance to the ex-rebels’ forces in the town of Bani Walid has been “ferocious,” with supporters of Gaddafi firing mortars and rockets inside the town. But the NTC predicts that Bani Walid will fall by the end of this month.
Fate of Animals in the Tripoli Zoo
As the NTC struggles to establish its legitimacy and, indeed, to get the government in Libya running, some residents of Tripoli who have been suffering for days are finally getting some relief. CNN reports that a team of animal-welfare experts from Austria’s Four Paws International has arrived in the Tripoli Zoo to tend to the animals who — unlike human residents of Tripoli — had no choice but to remain where they were as missiles were fired and Kalashnikovs shot bullets into the mammal house. Fifteen members of the zoo staff braved the fighting to feed and water the animals every day; without this care, they would have died after three or four days.
However, with running water only recently restored to Tripoli, the hippos were in poor shape; they could only drink the water left in their pool, but were unable to swim. They have survived and now have sufficient water. But a Siberian tiger, Osama, has died. A doctor from Vienna, Dr. Amir Khalil, who rushed to Tripoli to help the animals after seeing a TV report, says Osama died due to his age (the tiger is possibly 21 years old) and also the stress he endured.
The Tripoli Zoo opened in 1986 and was undergoing a major reconstruction when the war broke out. The South Korean construction company that was working on the project left due to security concerns. The zoo’s director, Dr. Abdulfatah Husni, says the NTC has pledged support to the zoo and that he hopes there will be exchanges with zoos around the world and the arrival of new animals who have not been traumatized by the violence of the war.
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Photo of Bani Walid standoff by magharebia