Libya’s new masters offered a million-dollar bounty for the fugitive Muammar Gaddafi yesterday, after he urged his men to fight on in battles across the capital.
A day after rebel forces overran his Tripoli headquarters and trashed symbols of his 42-year rule, scattered pockets of loyalist diehards kept the irregular fighters at bay as they hunted Gaddafi and his sons. Rebels also reported fighting deep in the desert and a standoff around Gaddafi’s tribal home town.
In Tripoli, rockets and gunfire kept 2 million civilians indoors. Most were anxious but hopeful the war would soon end — and with it, worsening shortages of food, water and medical supplies for hundreds of wounded and for the sick.
“Gaddafi’s forces and his accomplices will not stop resisting until Gaddafi is caught or killed,” said Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the rebels’ National Council, who offered amnesty to any of his entourage who killed the fallen strongman and announced a reward worth over $1 million for his capture.
“The end will only come when he’s captured, dead or alive,” Abdel Jalil said in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
Hunt takes rebels in search of tunnels
When Libyan rebels stormed Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, he was nowhere to be found. The hunt for the Libyan dictator may now take them underground.
Suspecting it might come to this, Gaddafi taunted North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies three months ago, saying in a May 13 speech: “I live in a place they cannot reach and where you cannot kill me.”
Libyans have grown up on tales of an intricate network of air-conditioned 1970s-era secret passages, which were fortified in the aftermath of the 1986 U.S. bombing raid on Tripoli to provide an increasingly paranoid Gaddafi with a safe way out, according to Karim Mezran, a Libyan exile and a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy.
“Nobody visited these underground bunkers, but the information we got is that he has some tunnels leading from Bab al-Aziziyah to some other places like the airport and even Martyrs Square,” Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya’s former deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters yesterday. BLOOMBERG