Rebels Seize Gaddafi’s Compound But Where Is He? (video)


After intense fighting with forces supporting Muammar el-Gaddafi, the Libyan rebel forces have taken control of his Bab al-Azizya compound in Tripoli. TV footage shows the rebels tearing down an iconic statue of a golden fist crushing a US fighter jet and breaking off the head of a Gaddafi statue. Al Jazeera reports that the rebel forces say they are in control of 90 percent of the compound; there have been reports of looting in the compound’s armory. Among other items, the rebels have seized Gaddafi’s golf cart: In February, he appeared on Libyan state television sitting in the cart to disavow rumors he was in Venezuela. He also stepped into his cart after his defiant “zenga zenga” speech last month and then drove off.

“Zenga” means “alleyway” in Arabic; Gaddafi’s use of the phrase “zenga zenga” had referred to his claiming to trace down the opposition from alleyway to alleyway. Here’s the rebels taking Gaddafi’s golf cart:

It is not clear if Gaddafi or his family are in the compound — which is 2.3 square miles in area — and his whereabouts remain unknown. The Bab al-Aziziya complex was Gaddafi’s main residence, also housing a library and government offices; it is said to contain a maze of underground tunnels that lead to key locations throughout Tripoli. The BBC‘s Paul Danahar suggests it is unlikely that Gaddafi and his family are in the compound as “it is the one place they know the people of Tripoli would tear to shreds.”

Fierce fighting has continued in different neighborhoods of the city with Al Jazeera‘s James Bays saying that “The battle is certainly not over. The city is on a knife edge.” NATO planes are said to be seen flying low above the Bab al-Azizya compound.

The Libyan rebels say they control about 80 percent of Tripoli while Gaddafi’s government spokesperon Moussa Ibrahim says it controls about 75 percent. While the rebels met little resistance on entering Tripoli on Sunday, “accusations, doubts, and confusion” have arisen about the rebels’ claims after Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam appeared at the Rixos Hotel where journalists are staying on Tuesday night. The rebels’ National Transitional Council had said that Seif had been captured; as Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland comments,

“It is going to be interesting to see how the NTC explains this debacle and how it seeks to reinforce and strengthen these alliances and enable the rebels to get to Tripoli itself.”

While rebel troops have been firing guns in celebration of taking Gaddafi’s complex, the tough questions remain. As Former British Army Colonel Richard Kemp wrote on Twitter, if the rebels become the ruling authority in Libya,

“should we now be referring to #Gaddafi and his mob as “The Rebels”?”

The US is seeking to release between $1 to $1.5 billion in frozen Libyan funds to give to the rebels in the coming days; questions remain about how these funds might be used. The National Transitional Council has said it plans to start forming a new government on Wednesday. NTC chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil has said Gaddafi and members of his regime would face justice and fair trials and has called for the rebels to be tolerant. “There should be no settling of scores,” he said.

A London law firm has taken on Gaddafi as a client, says the Guardian and is defending its decision, noting that “entitled to legal representation.”

Previous Care2 Coverage

Gaddafi’s Son Seif al-Islam Not Captured By Rebels

Politicians React To Libya News

Gaddafi’s Last Stand in Tripoli


Aerial view of the Bab al-Azizya compound by Mick Roche


Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y6 years ago

Most likely he is seeking asylum overseas. The Hague and the International Criminal Court have no death penalty, so even if he is detained in Europe or somewhere else he will have a long, highly publicized trial where he can drone on literally for weeks, months and years justifying the things he did. He would undoubtedly enjoy that.

He's stashed $$ over the years probably in Swiss banks and Carribean islands, so he should be all set for retirement. He has friends in Europe but might head for Venezuela or somewhere else to avoid arrest; the ICC has an indictment on him.

With his money and wealthy friends around the world, it's not hard to imagine him hiding out forever or even getting plastic surgery. Since he renounced terrorism, the Seals won't be hunting him unless he starts giving money to nutbags. Who knows, the EU might want to enforce that ICC thing in order to have a trial at The Hague documenting murder, torture and human rights abuses of the past 40 years or so. Important to do that for ex-dictatorships, so all those people can have closure on their dead relatives.

If he is found by the rebels his fate could be akin to Mussolini's. I think the good Colonel is too smart for that. He sounds crazy but that is just ego and drugs, he was actually a rather shrewd fellow when he had all his brain cells.

Rachel B.
Rachel B6 years ago

I hope Gadddhafi is found soon for the sake of the NTC and the rebels. They need him as an example to distinguish themselves and prove their mercy or lack thereof.

Siusaidh C.
Susan C6 years ago

The Pentagon says it's monitoring sites known to contain stockpiles of chemical weapons, including uranium dust. A British embassy spokesman says its agents are ready to secure the depots. James Corbett talks with RT on disinformation on all sides:

Marianna B M.

God dont forsake Libya

Lilithe Magdalene

Such an interesting turn of events. I'm a little with Siusaidh on this one.

Siusaidh C.
Susan C6 years ago

He'll die of old age in a cave, issue a series of videos at crucial moments, and in 2021 be 'found' in a compound and taken-out by SEALs. A heavy bag will/won't be dropped into the ocean, with the only video of the event damaged beyond repair. No photos. Soon thereafter the heroic SEALs will be shot down, leaving the number of whose who could tell what really happened/didn't happen sadly depleted.

Recycling is good. Who would notice a certain deja vu to the scenario? If they did, who would dare mention it?

Siusaidh C.
Susan C6 years ago

For your consideration: "From the makers of 'Gaddafi is killing his own people', Doha studio presents 'The Libyan Revolution'

sandra m.
Past Member 6 years ago

Laurie...So right
I feel a woe be me,cry in your beer,"my name is earl" type of country song coming on!

Hege Torset
Hege Torset6 years ago


Louise D.
Louise D6 years ago

I think there will be a new book called "Where's Gaddafi?" in which Gadaffi will be wearing a stripey jumper and a bobble hat while in a crowd of people. Still the thing about Gaddafi he might be able to escape by merely smiling though that might be impossible as his facial muscles have stuck in that melted cheese expression.