Nigeria yesterday became the 30th country to recognise Libya’s National Transition Council (NTC), urging its leaders to build a democratic foundation in the country ruled for four decades by iron fisted Muammar Gaddafi.
Nato-led rebel forces stormed into Tripoli on Monday and forced Gaddafi into hiding. Gaddafi was reported to be holed up inside Tripoli despite reports suggesting he could seek sanctuary in Zimbabwe or Angola.
News agencies reported that yesterday alone, at least four countries — Iraq, Morocco, Bahrain and Nigeria — had moved to recognise the NTC.
This raises the number of countries that have recognised the NTC as the legitimate representative of Libya to more than 30.
The NTC flag was flying at the country’s embassies in several countries including China. In Zimbabwe, the flag belonging to Gaddafi’s regime was still flying.
Nigerian Foreign Affairs minister Olugbenga Ashiru said: “Nigeria stands ready to work with the democratic forces in Libya in this transition process.
“The federal government has followed closely the developments in Libya and in particular, the events of the last 48 hours.
“The unmistakable message from the battle for the control of Tripoli and other cities is that the people of Libya are anxious and determined to take their destiny into their own hands and to ensure the realisation of their quest for freedom and democracy.”
The International Criminal Court has also started preparations to charge the Libyan leader and one of his sons, Saif al-Islam, with crimes against humanity.
Saif al-Islam, who rebels said they had captured, made a surprise appearance with jubilant supporters in Tripoli early yesterday and issued a rallying cry to loyalists to fight off opponents who say they control most of the Libyan capital.
Saif al-Islam, who has been seen as his father’s heir apparent, visited the Tripoli hotel where foreign journalists are staying to declare that the government was winning the battle against the rebels..
Meanwhile, Russian chess federation chief Kirsan Ilyumzhinov yesterday said Gaddafi had told him by telephone that he was still in Tripoli, “alive and well, and had no plans to leave the city”.
Yesterday, rebels stormed Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, one of the few areas still under the Libyan leader’s control, witnesses said.
The fortified Tripoli compound is the seat of Gaddafi’s political power and the principal base of loyalist fighters trying to rescue his 42-year-old rule.