Conflict & Justice

Gaddafi remains threat to Libya

Muammar al-Gaddafi is still a threat to Libya and the world, as his whereabouts and a stockpile of weapons remain unknown, one of the chiefs of the new transitional power has said.

The chief of the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) Mostafa Abdel Jalil on Monday called on NATO and other allies to continue supporting rebels against the "tyrant", BBC reports.

The rebels have taken the small town of Nofilia on their way to the Gaddafi stronghold and hometown of Sirte, where talks with tribal elders have apparently failed and where they shortly expect to fight the last big battle of the revolution, it reports.

Most of the fighting in Tripoli has stopped, BBC reports.

NATO, which has a mandate to support the rebels until the end of September when it would have to be reviewed, remains committed to the operation.

At a meeting of senior military figures from countries involved in the civil war in Libya over the past several months, Jalil asked for help as no concrete information about the whereabouts of the embattled Libyan leader and his sons were available, Xinhua reports.

"Gaddafi's defiance of the coalition forces still poses a danger, not only for Libya, but for the world. That is why we are calling for the coalition to continue its support," Mr Jalil said at the meeting in Doha, BBC reports.

Since capturing Gaddafi's Bab al- Azizya compound in the capital Tripoli, and most of the country, rebel forces have tried to take the dictator and his sons but to no avail. 

Analysts say the large amount of missiles, and chemical weapons reportedly possessed by Gaddafi's forces, including an estimated 10 tons or more of mustard gas remain a huge danger, Xinhua reports.

On Sunday, Libyan rebels had said that more than 10,000 prisoners arrested by Gaddafi's government had been freed since the rebel forces took control of Tripoli, but about 50,000 prisoners were still missing.

Rebel military spokesman Col. Ahmed Bani said it would be "catastrophic" if it turned out that they had already been killed after being arrested, as  several instances have also since emerged of shocking mass executions of people.

BBC reports:

A ship carrying hundreds of prisoners, released from Libyan jails, has arrived in Benghazi from Tripoli.

In scenes of almost delirious joy, they were greeted and hugged by wives, husbands, brothers, sisters and friends, says the BBC's Jon Leyne who watched as the ship arrived in the rebel city.

Some had been captured by Col Gaddafi's forces during the last six months; others had been held for years.

They spoke of torture, beatings and starvation rations.

Rebel leaders have spoken of their concerns for tens of thousands of others - taken prisoner in the past few months - who are still missing.

The rebels say they fear their bodies could be unearthed in mass graves, or that the prisoners have been abandoned in secret, underground military bunkers.