Libya interim leader: Gadhafi forces must surrender by Saturday

Overthrown Libyan leader reportedly hiding in town of Sabha, while his family has fled to Algeria.

Libyan areas loyal to the fugitive leader Muammar Gadhafi have until Saturday to surrender or face military force, chief of the opposition Transitional National Council Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Tuesday.

His forces intended to take over central and southern Libya as well as Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown, and he urged residents to cooperate.

„By Saturday, if there are no peaceful indications for implementing this we will decide this manner militarily. We do not wish to do so but we cannot wait longer,” he told a news conference.

Rebel forces have converged on Sirte from east and west, intent on seizing one of his last bastions of support either by force or by negotiation.

Gadhafi’s whereabouts have not been known since forces opposed to him captured Tripoli and his 42-year-old rule collapsed a week ago after a six-month uprising backed by NATO and some Arab states.

He is reported to have been in the capital Tripoli as late as last Friday and to have gone from there to the southern desert town of Sabha, Britain’s Sky News said on Tuesday, quoting the 17-year-old bodyguard of his son Khamis.

Sky quoted the unnamed captured bodyguard as saying Gaddafi held a meeting with Khamis at around 1:30 P.M. on Friday in a Tripoli compound that was under heavy fire at the time by anti-Gadhafi forces.

Gadhafi had arrived in a saloon car and was also joined shortly afterwards by his daughter Aisha.

„They had a short, short meeting, the boy says. He wasn’t close to them but he could see them very clearly,” said Sky reporter Stuart Ramsay.

„They swapped into a series of Land Cruiser cars and headed off. He spoke to his immediate officer (who said) ‘They’re going to Sabha.”

Along with Sirte, Sabha is one of the few remaining places in Libya where pro-Gadhafi forces are holding out.

Aisha is one of three of Gaddafi’s children who, along with his wife, have now been confirmed to have crossed the border into Algeria. His son, Khamis, was reportedly killed in battle in Tripoli.