Qaddafi says reports of Niger crossing are “psychological warfare and lies”


Former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi ridiculed reports that he had fled to neighboring Niger and vowed to defeat the rebels, in an audio message aired by the Damascus-based Arrai television channel on Thursday.

In the aired phone call – which was made from inside Libya, according to the Syrian TV station – Qaddafi rejected the alleged crossing to Niger and described the reports as “psychological warfare and lies.”

“They have nothing else to resort to apart from psychological warfare and lies. They last said Qaddafi had been seen in a convoy heading towards Niger,” the message continued.

“How many times do convoys transporting smugglers, traders and people cross the border every day for Sudan, Chad, Mali and Algeria,” he said. “As if this was the first time a convoy was headed towards Niger.”

Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council has sent envoys to Niger to try to stop Qaddafi and his entourage from evading justice by fleeing across a desert frontier toward friendly African states.

“They want to weaken our morale,” he added, addressing his countrymen. “Do not waste time on this weak and ignoble enemy.”

The strongman also said NATO “will be defeated,” as its “logistical capacities will not allow it” to press on with its military intervention.

“We are ready in Tripoli and everywhere to intensify attacks against the rats, the mercenaries, who are a pack of dogs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Qaddafi’s spokesman has repeatedly said he is in Libya and remains in high spirits. Niger said he was not in the convoy.

Since Qaddafi’s Tripoli complex was overrun on August 23, the deposed strongman has made several appeals for resistance in tapes aired by Arrai, which is run by Damascus-based Iraqi Sunni former MP Mishan al-Juburi.

Juburi has been the only person who has been able to contact Qaddafi since he went into hiding after Tripoli fell.

“When I need to talk to him, I send him a message, or he contacts me when he wants to pass a message,” Juburi told AFP by telephone.

Meanwhile, the United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, said on Thursday that the UN would continue to support what he described “a revolution of hope” in North Africa and beyond.

“Across North Africa and beyond, a revolution of hope has taken hold,” he said in a speech at Sydney University, singling out Libya, Syria and the Ivory Coast.

The UN chief gave the example of the Ivory Coast, where former president Laurent Gbagbo’s months-long battle to cling to power after losing elections in November brought the country to the brink of civil war.