The son and heir apparent of the late Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam, claimed on Sunday he was still alive and vowed to continue mounting resistance against the National Transitional Council (NTC).
Saif al-Islam, who had been reported dead earlier on, told supporters in a televised speech aired by Syria’s Arrai TV channel, loyal to the Libyan ex-leader he would pursue his father’s footprints.
“We continue our resistance. I am in Libya, I am alive, free and intend to go to the very end and exact revenge,” Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency quotes Saif al-Islam as saying on the Syrian Channel on Saturday night.
Earlier, contradictory reports suggested Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has been either killed or captured in the western Libyan town of Zlitan and was in the hands of the NTC.
Egypt’s Nile TV channel reported last Thursday he had managed to flee Sirte and find shelter in the desert.
According to RIA Novosti, Saif al-Islam has already got the support of the tribes loyal to his father, who promised to fight against the current government and take revenge for the killing of the colonel and his son Mutassim. Some experts suggest the Libyan conflict could now be prolonged and grow from a political into an interethnic struggle.
Thirty-nine-year-old Saif al-Islam is the
second son of Muammar Gaddafi and carried out public relations and diplomatic roles for his father.
Western-educated and the most-recognised Libyan official, he was often viewed as the colonel’s successor and a possible reformer.
His father Muammar was killed after being captured by the Libyan fighters he once scorned as “rats,” cornered and shot in the head after they overran his last bastion of resistance in his hometown of Sirte.
His body, bloodied, half naked, Gaddafi’s trademark long curls hanging limp around a rarely seen bald spot, was delivered, a prize of war, to Misrata, the city west of Sirte whose siege and months of suffering at the hands of Gaddafi’s artillery and sniper made it a symbol of the rebel cause.