Gaddafi nowhere to be found; son in Niger `custody

NATO acknowledged it has no idea where his fugitive father is holed up.

Tripoli: Muammar Gaddafi`s son Saadi was
under guard in the Niger capital on Wednesday after fleeing Libya
over the weekend but NATO acknowledged it has no idea where
his fugitive father is holed up.

The alliance stressed that the toppled strongman was not
a target in the daily bombing campaign it has kept up against
his remaining forces as the World Bank formally recognised
Libya`s new leaders and pledged to play a major role in their
post-war reconstruction efforts.

Saadi Gaddafi, 38, the third of Gaddafi`s seven sons, is
among 32 officials of the ousted regime, three of them top
generals, who have fled through the desert to neighbouring
Niger this month.

He was flown into the capital Niamey late yesterday after
being put on an air force Hercules C-130 transport plane from
the northwestern town of Agadez, Nigerien officials said.

He had been put up in the governor`s residence in the
desert town with eight close associates of his father after
they crossed into Niger on Sunday.

Washington accepted Niamey`s assurances that Saadi
Gaddafi, who commanded an elite army unit after a brief career
as a professional footballer in Italy, was in the custody of
Nigerien security forces.

"Our understanding is, like the others, he`s being
detained in a state guest house," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

"It`s essentially a house arrest in this government
facility, is our understanding," she added.

NATO said it had no idea whether Gaddafi himself had also
fled his country.

Bureau Report

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