Gaddafi son Seif seen in fight for Bani Walid

Filed on September 19, 2011

BANI WALID, Libya — Fierce fighting raged Monday in Bani Walid as new regime fighters attacked the town where Muammar Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam is holed up, possibly with his father, said the new authorities.

“The revolutionaries came to Bani Walid this morning and engaged in a hard battle,” Abdullah Kenshil, a senior official in the National Transitional Council (NTC), told AFP.

Kenshil said the battle for control of Bani Walid, one of the few remaining bastions of fighters loyal to Gaddafi southeast of Tripoli, was a “done deal and will be completed in the next two days.”

On Sunday, the NTC’s forces were beaten back after pushing into Bani Walid. Correspondents heard loud explosions and intermittent gunfire from inside the oasis town, and rockets exploded near NTC positions on the outskirts.

“We folded because of the intensity of the bombing by the loyalist forces against our positions,” Kenshil said, adding negotiations were underway for the evacuation of about 50,000 civilians in the city.

The NTC official said that Seif al-Islam, the most prominent son of ousted Libyan leader Gaddafi, had been seen in Bani Walid, and that it is likely that his father is also in the oasis town.

“Seif al-Islam was seen in Bani Walid; this is 100 percent certain. As for his father, he was there too; we are 70 percent sure,” Kenshil told AFP.

Gaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi are all at large and wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.

“Those fighting in Bani Walid are not necessarily Gaddafi’s brigades, whose members joined the NTC forces,” said Kenshil, adding they were “mercenaries from Chad, Niger and Togo, according to the bodies we have recovered.”

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