Conflict & Justice

Libyan rebels offer bounty for Gaddafi

Libyan rebels on Wednesday announced a 2 million dinar ($1.7 million) bounty on the head of Muammar al-Gaddafi, whose whereabouts remain unknown.

Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, the head of the rebels' National Transitional Council, said in a news conference in Benghazi that Libyan businessmen had pooled the money, and that the award would go to anyone who captures Gaddafi dead or alive, The New York Times reports.

On top of the bounty, Abdel-Jalil said that anyone who kills or captures Gaddafi will be pardoned of any past crimes, The Christian Science Monitor reports, "an attempt to entice one of his inner circle to give him up."

Abdel-Jalil also announced an offer for Gaddafi himself. The Monitor reports that the rebel leader offered to arrange passage out of the country for Gaddafi if he publicly relinquishes power. If Gaddafi does so, the NTC will allow him to seek exile in a nation that is not a member of the International Criminal Court, where he is facing charges of crimes against humanity.

"We realize that Moammar Gadhafi's regime is not finished yet," Abdel-Jalil said, according to The Wall Street Journal. "The matter won't come to an end except when he's captured dead or alive; we fear mayhem and destruction from him because these are his values, upbringing and practices."

The Journal reports that Abdel-Jalil disclosed plans to move the NTC's headquarters from Benghazi to Tripoli later this week.

Earlier on Wednesday, Gaddafi vowed "martyrdom or victory" in an audio message broadcast on a Tripoli radio station. He said he would fight to the last drop of blood.

On Tuesday, rebels stormed Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli, taking control of the symbolic heart of the strongman's regime. But on Wednesday, reports indicated that pro-Gaddafi forces were fighting back, with at least seven mortars falling on Bab al-Aziziya in Tripoli within a 40-minute period.