Gaddafi shows cuddly side - but remains elusive

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Gaddafi shows cuddly side - but remains elusive

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Showing a softer side in a newly-uncovered home video, Libya’s ousted strongman remains at large.

A relaxed, playful Muammar Gaddafi is seen in the footage, thought to date from 2005, in which his young granddaughter is seen tweaking his nose.

It was discovered in Tripoli, where the Bab al-Aziziya compound was ransacked late last month as opposition fighters overran the capital.

Gaddafi’s spokesman insists the elusive ex-leader is still in Libya. But reports are multiplying that he may have fled south three days ago, possibly via the village of Ghwat, some 300 km north of the border with Niger.

Anti-Gaddafi fighters were visiting Niger on Wednesday, urging it to deny him refuge. Dozens of Libyan vehicles have arrived there, some of which may be carrying gold and cash. Officials say Gaddafi’s security chief, but not the toppled leader himelf, is in the capital.

Many believe the Colonel could have Burkina Faso in his sights. It says it is not now offering him asylum. But one man interviewed in the capital Ouagadougou, Herve Yameogo, said it would not be a bad idea to welcome Gaddafi.

“He has done a lot of good in West Africa, particularly for Burkina Faso,” he said.

Gaddafi has long portrayed himself as an African leader, boosting his influence through loans, aid and diplomatic contacts.