UPDATE 1-Gaddafi son Saif fleeing towards Niger - NTC officer

Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:18am GMT

(Adds details on security chief, background)

LONDON Oct 21 (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam is fleeing south from Sirte towards Libya's border with Niger, a senior military commander of the interim National Transitional Council (NTC) said on Friday.

Abdul Majid Mlegta told Reuters that Islam was believed to travelling in a convoy of three armoured vehicles to try to escape NTC forces that overran Sirte on Thursday and killed his father, Libya's deposed former ruler.

"We are searching for him. The fighters in the region are on full alert," Mlegta said.

Gaddafi was captured alive in his hometown of Sirte on Thursday but died later while in the hands of fighters in circumstances that are still not clear. Islam is believed to have fled Sirte at about the same time.

Dozens of Gaddafi loyalists, including one of his sons Saadi, fled to Niger in September and are being sheltered in Niamey.

Niger has resisted appeals for them to be handed over to Libya's new rulers, saying Tripoli could send investigators if it wanted to question them.

Megta said that in recent days Gaddafi's security chief Abdullah al-Senussi, believed to be hiding in Niger, had been trying to organise some form of safe passage from Sirte to Niger for Gaddafi's entourage.

On Thursday Niger's foreign minister Mohammed Bazoum said he had been informed by Western countries that Senussi had fled across the border into the far north of Niger.   Continued...

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