Earlier this month, we collected the swirling rumors about ousted Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's whereabouts on an annotated Google Map. Today, Hisham Buhagiar, the carpet salesman-cum-chief Qaddafi hunter, provides Reuters with new details about Qaddafi's possible whereabouts, noting that the fugitive ruler may have been in the southern town of Samnu last week and could now be holed up near the western town of Ghadamis along the Algerian border (if he's there, it would help explain why Qaddafi loyalists crossed the Algerian border over the weekend and launched a deadly attack on anti-Qaddafi fighters in the desert town).
Here's the updated map, which now highlights seven locations within Libya and one in neighboring Niger, where some of Qaddafi's relatives have surfaced. If Qaddafi did indeed travel from Samnu to Ghadamis over the past week, it looks like it was quite a trek. A month after seizing Tripoli, Libya's new leaders have yet to capture Sirte and Bani Walid, which you'll see along the coast. (Qaddafi's daughter Aisha, now in Algeria, claimed last week that her father was "fighting along with his sons at the fronts.") Buhagiar, who's relying on on-the-ground sightings and phone intercepts to gather intelligence, tells Reuters that he believes Qaddafi's sons Saif al-Islam and Mutassem are in Bani Walid and Sirte, respectively, and possibly plotting to escape to Niger.
View Muammar Qaddafi's Whereabouts in a larger map
Buhagiar adds that Qaddafi may be hiding in Ghadamis under the protection of Tuareg tribesmen. Another Libyan military spokesman, Abdel-Rahman Busin, tells the AP that Qaddafi may be paying off the Tuaregs, a nomadic community who live along the desert border of Niger, Mali, Libya, Algeria, and Chad and are longtime Qaddafi supporters. Busin noted, however, that Libya's new leaders "don't have the people to cover" all the land near Ghadamis and that Qaddafi "could move around quite freely." The recent attack on Ghadamis, he observed, might also have just been a "diversion" to make Libyan officials think Qaddafi was there. In other words, we'll likely be updating the map above sometimes soon. Here's a Getty picture of Tuareg women holding a photo of Qaddafi back in 2009:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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