Saif al-Islam the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has made a sudden appearance in the centre of Tripoli. Only hours earlier rebels and the International Criminal Court had said the 39-year-old had been captured.
After jubilant supporters welcomed his arrival Saif al-Islam told journalists his father was safe and well and in Tripoli.
“Firstly I want to deny all the rumours, NATO and the West have modern technology and they blocked and jammed communications. They sent messages to the Libyan people through the internet. They stopped state broadcasts, and they’ve created a media and electronic war to spread chaos and fear in Libya.” He told the BBC that by entering Tripoli, the rebels had fallen into “a trap” and that fighters loyal to his father were winning the battle for the capital.
Gaddafi’s other son Mohammed who was taken by rebels while giving a live interview is now said to have escaped from house arrest.
Muammar Gaddafi has not been seen in public since June although at the start of the uprising, he made several spontaneous and often bizarre appearances.
Despite Saif’s assertions, speculation is rife over the Libyan leader’s whereabouts. He could be in his Tripoli compound which his troops are fiercely defending or he could have fled to his home region of Sirte.
Refuge in foreign countries cannot be ruled out although he has always vowed never to leave Libya.