(Updates with comment from council’s oil official starting in fifth paragraph, Senator McCain in 12th.)
Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Libya’s interim government asked Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant for Muammar Qaddafi’s son Saadi as it seeks to round up former officials and create stability in the North African nation.
The National Transitional Council asked Interpol to issue the warrant for Saadi, who fled to Niger this month, on suspicion of “misappropriating properties through force and armed intimidation” when he headed the Libyan Football Federation, Interpol said today in a statement on its website.
It was the first time the NTC approached Interpol to issue a warrant, the Paris-based police group said. Interpol issued so-called red notices for Muammar Gaddafi, his apparent heir and son Saif al-Islam and former military intelligence director Abdullah al-Senussi at the request of the International Criminal Court on Sept. 9 for alleged crimes against humanity.
The council says it wants to try former government officials in Libya. Its drive to complete the liberation of the country is being hampered by political infighting and the doggedness of Qaddafi’s supporters in their last two strongholds of Bani Walid and Sirte. NTC officials say that a new government will only be unveiled once all of Libya is under their control.
Ali Tarhouni, the official in charge of Libya’s finance and oil ministries, told reporters today in Tripoli, the capital, that a government would be formed “very soon.”
Oil Output Rises
The fighting to end Qaddafi’s 42-year rule reduced oil output and disrupted power supplies in the country with Africa’s largest crude reserves. Libya is already producing 300,000 barrels a day of oil, Tarhouni said, adding that $1.5 billion of Libya’s funds had been unfrozen.
Interpol’s warrant for Saadi “will significantly restrict his ability to travel and cross international borders,” its secretary-general, Ronald K. Noble, said in the statement. “It is a powerful tool that will help authorities locate and arrest him.”
Saadi is also subject to a United Nations travel ban and assets freeze imposed in March because he was a commander of military units allegedly involved in the repression of demonstrations during Libya’s uprising.
Libyan Justice Minister Mohammed Al-Alaji said yesterday that the NTC asked Tunisia to extradite former Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmoudi.
Saif al-Islam may be leading loyalist fighters in Bani Walid and another son, Mutassim may be in charge of supporters in the family’s hometown of Sirte, Ahmed Bani, the NTC military spokesman, told reporters yesterday in Tripoli.
The battle for Sirte will be over “very soon,” with NTC forces already in control of the airport and port, NTC spokesman Abdul Busin said today in a telephone interview in Tripoli. NTC forces “are holding off slightly” in some areas of Sirte for the moment, he said.
U.S. Senator John McCain told reporters in Tripoli today that America will help find Qaddafi.
Bani said he couldn’t confirm reports Qaddafi is hiding in the western town of Ghadames near the border by Algeria under the protection of Tuareg tribesmen. The NTC isn’t greatly concerned about Qaddafi’s whereabouts, he added.
“We are working on the full and complete liberation of Libya, and to secure all the cities,” Bani said. “After that, we will do our best to look for this person. This does not worry us.”
--Editors: Karl Maier, Ben Holland
To contact the reporters on this story: Caroline Alexander in London at firstname.lastname@example.org; Robert Tuttle in Tripoli at email@example.com
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