The bounty of two million Libyan dinars (£1m, $1.67m) was offered by two businessmen from Benghazi. The Chairman of the Benghazi-based Transitional National Council of the Libyan rebels, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, announced Wednesday afternoon, as cited by the BBC, that Libyan businessmen have placed the bounty of Gaddafi, who is wanted dead or alive.
“The National Transitional Council announces that any of his inner circle who kill Gaddafi or capture him, society will give amnesty or pardon for any crime he has committed,” chairman Jalil said. Today there was heavy fighting in the south of Tripoli as rebels hunted the dictator.
“We think Gaddafi is hiding somewhere in Tripoli. He is likely to be in the al-Hadhba al-Khandra area,” an official said. “Sometimes a lesser evil must prevent a larger evil,” Jalil added to a room full of journalists.
“Now this is one of those deals where I am sure anyone with a gun that is on the ground in Libya could participate in this bounty?” writes Ferajundi.com’s Matt. “But it sounds like the rebels are really trying to reach out to his inner circle folks by offering amnesty and money.”
He continues: “We will see and it just might produce. In Iraq, a bounty certainly helped to find Uday and Qusay. Although that bounty was worth $30 million. Maybe some more donors will add to the Gaddafi bounty?”
In Libya, where average year income is about $14,000 according to the CIA World Factbook, the bounty is a large sum of money. By offering amnesty, Jalil also sought to underscore that many of Gaddafi’s loyalists may be sticking with the colonel out of fear. “Their destiny and future are entwined with his. Our heroes are ready to face them and hunt them down,” he said.
This decision answered Gaddafi’s earlier radio statement that called for Libyans to cleanse Tripoli of “rats” and claimed that his retreat from the Bab al-Aziziya complex in the south of the capital was a “tactical retreat.” Rebels claim to control 95 percent of the capital.
“With God’s will and the help of those tactics, we have reached the liberation of Libya,” a wry Ahmed Bani, the NTC’s military spokesman said. “The same tactics were used in Misrata…the Western Mountains. Even Gaddafi’s exit from Libya will also be ‘tactical.’”
Jalil said that Libya would accept Gaddafi’s withdrawal from the country only if Gaddafi publicly and formally renounces his power. However, he also said that “the end is only when [Gaddafi] is captured, dead or alive.”
Bani also said that the NTC may be amenable to having the former chief tried abroad but said that the decision will remain in the hands of the council. Based on the premature negotiations with the ICC over the trial of Saif al-Islam, one of Gaddafi’s sons, the council would prefer the trial to be held in his own country.
Pockets of fighting continue in Tripoli despite Bani’s assertion that Tripoli is “fully liberated.” The Rixos hotel is still surrounded by loyalist snipers who may have taken the journalists inside hostage. Bani mentioned an operation to free the journalists but was unwilling to discuss the details.
“We will meet in a few days in Tripoli around the Rixos Hotel, Inshallah (god willing),” he said. Loyalist forces also shelled the Gaddafi’s abandoned compound and Tripoli’s airport, and dug trench and sandbag fortifications around the Rixos hotel. [via The Telegraph (UK)]