November 19, 2011
A Libyan revolutionary militia commander from the town of Zintan announced Saturday that Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, was captured alive in southern Libya, near the border of Niger and Algeria.
Shouts of Allahu Akbar, or God is Greatest, went up from the crowd at the press conference in Tripoli, after Zintan militia commander Beshir al Atrib announced that Seif al-Islam had been captured by fighters from Zintan's Abu Bakr Sidiq militia.
Al Atrib said the revolutionary fighters announced that Seif al-Islam was captured along with three aides, and that he hoped at this historic moment the future of Libya would be brighter. He said national unity will be everyone's goal and that the news of Seif al-Islam's capture in the southern part of the country will be momentous to all Libyans.
Al Atrib went on to tell journalists that Seif al-Islam was captured in the vicinity of the town of Obari in the southern Libyan desert, 170 kilometers south of the oasis town of Sabha.
Al Atrib added that Seif al-Islam's accomplices were trying to smuggle him out of the country. He said they were trying to smuggle Seif al-Islam into neighboring Niger and that former Libyan Intelligence Chief Abdallah Senoussi was not among those captured, according to initial reports.
Libya's interim Interior Minister Mohammed al Alaqi told al Arabiya TV that Seif al-Islam had been flown by helicopter to the town of Zintan, west of the capital Tripoli. Al Jazeera TV showed a photo of him, after being captured, with bandages around his fingers. It was unclear how he was hurt.
Al Alaqi also indicated initially that Seif al-Islam would be handed over to the International Criminal Court, which has an outstanding warrant for his arrest, but later insisted that he would be "tried in Libya, according to international norms."
The International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, issued its arrest warrant against Seif al-Islam last June, along with warrants for his father, the late deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, and former Intelligence Chief Senoussi.
Seif al-Islam was last seen in August, after reportedly escaping from revolutionary fighters who had captured the capital Tripoli. He was later reported to have fled to the desert town of Bani Walid, which fell in mid-October.