Dictator’s son, al-Saadi Gaddafi, reportedly trying to ‘negotiate terms of his own surrender’

“Dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s son al-Saadi is trying to negotiate the terms of his own surrender, the rebel commander in Tripoli says, in what would be a major blow to the Libyan leader’s crumbling regime.  The commander, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, told the press that al-Saadi first called him on Tuesday and asked whether his safety could be guaranteed.  ‘We told him: ‘Don’t fear for your life.  We will guarantee your rights as a human being, and will deal with you humanely’, said Belhaj, confirming a report on Al-Jazeera television.  Belhaj added that al-Saadi would be turned over to Libyan legal authorities after his surrender.  If the offer is confirmed – the rebels have previously claimed to have captured Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam, who later turned up free – the surrender would give the rebels a significant boost as they try to consolidate their hold over the country with the longtime dictator and several sons and aides still at large.  Opposition fighters have been pressing toward Gaddafi’s key remaining stronghold, his hometown of Sirte, and loyalists now only control a handful of areas, including Bani Walid to the west.  Belhaj said al-Saadi told him he had not killed anyone, and that ‘he was not against the people’.  ‘I told him: ‘This is good. mWhat is important for us is not to shed Libyan blood.  For the members of the regime to surrender is the best way to do this’, said Belhaj.  The commander said al-Saadi had called back on Wednesday morning, but that he had missed the call.  He said he knows al-Saadi’s whereabouts, but prefers to negotiate a surrender.  He gave no further details…   There has been speculation that Gaddafi is seeking refuge in Sirte or one of the other remaining regime strongholds, among them Bani Walid or the southern town of Sabha. Top rebel officials say they have ‘a good idea’ where Gaddafi is hiding, but haven’t given any details.  Belhaj said the rebels have set up an operations room to collect any information about the elder Gaddafi’s whereabouts, gathering tips from rebels and captured regime fighters.  He said most of the information indicated Gaddafi was somewhere outside Tripoli, but he refused to give any further details, saying the search for the former dictator was ‘of utmost importance’ ”

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