(Updates with comment from State Department spokeswoman in sixth paragraph.)
Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Muammar Qaddafi’s son, Saadi, was transferred to a house in the presidential villa in Niger’s capital, Niamey.
Qaddafi was flown from Agadez in northern Niger to Niamey yesterday and traveled in a five-car convoy from the airport to a house near the residence of Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufo, said Mohamed Moussa, a police officer who escorted the procession. Images of Qaddafi’s arrival on board a Niger army aircraft were shown on Tele Dounia, a closely held broadcaster.
“He arrived in Niamey and was taken to a villa,” Moussa said in a phone interview yesterday. Other former Libyan officials, including three generals, are also being housed in villas in the city, he said.
Saadi Qaddafi went to Niger several days after some of his father’s senior loyalists, including his intelligence chief, fled to Niamey. Muammar Qaddafi’s wife, Safia, daughter Aisha and two sons, Hannibal and Mohammed, with their wives and children, arrived at the end of August in Algeria, where they were granted exile.
While these family members, including Saadi, have no arrest warrants against them, their journeys outside Libya may violate a United Nations travel ban.
Saadi Qaddafi is “essentially” under house arrest and is being detained in a government facility, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said late yesterday in Washington. Niger and Libya’s new leaders in the National Transitional Council are trying to “work through this together,” she said.
Qaddafi Eludes Capture
About three weeks after the opposition took control of the capital, Tripoli, Muammar Qaddafi has eluded capture. His spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, says he is in Libya. The North African nation’s new leaders are attempting to consolidate their gains, restore stability and create a functioning government.
More than six months of fighting to end Qaddafi’s 42-year rule have reduced oil output and disrupted power supplies in the country with Africa’s largest crude reserves.
Amnesty International said in a report yesterday that the NTC must do more to stop its forces from committing abuses that may amount to war crimes.
It urged the transitional council to stop arbitrary detentions, stamp out racism and xenophobia among its fighters against black Africans and treat detainees humanely.
At least 32 Libyans have arrived in Niger since Sept. 2 and are being hosted by the West African nation for “humanitarian reasons,” Prime Minister Brigi Rafini told reporters yesterday in Niamey.
“Among these people, no one is under an international arrest warrant,” Rafini said.
--Editors: Paul Richardson, Karl Maier, Jennifer Freedman
To contact the reporters on this story: Djibril Saidou in Niamey via Nairobi at firstname.lastname@example.org; Caroline Alexander in London at email@example.com.
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