NEWS
07/09/2011 05:17 BST | Updated 06/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Gaddafi May Have Fled In Convoy Heading To Southern Border

Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of Colonel Gaddafi amid reports that a convoy of around 250 trucks traversed the Libyan Desert on Tuesday heading for the Niger border.

According to The Independent, the convoy, believed to be heading for the African state of Burkina Faso, was carrying gold bullion, Euros and dollars.

According to the National Transitional Council, Gaddafi was last seen on Sunday in Bani Walid, however, he is now believed to have left, possibly on board one of the vehicles. Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, is also thought to have fled, along with supporters of the toppled regime.

The Daily Mail is reporting that the transit was organised by the French and South African governments on behalf of Nato in the hope of avoiding a bloody dénouement between rebel forces and those still loyal to the despot. The National transitional Council have refused to confirm the deal.

Officials in Niger deny that Gaddafi was part of the convoy when it crossed the border.

In a broadcast on Monday, Moussa Ibrahim, Gaddafi’s spokesman, said the colonel remained in good health and in good spirits inside Libya

"He is in a place that will not be reached by those fractious groups, and he is in Libya," he said.

He reported that Saif al-Islam also remained in Libya.

If Gaddafi has left, a diplomatic scramble to find him safe haven will be underway.

A government representative for Burkina Faso, believed to be Gaddafi’s intended destination, has moved to distance the small state from the Libyan dictator. Speaking to the Telegraph, Alain Traore said: “We cannot grant him asylum because for the past three years we have not had good relations with him.

“We don’t see why we would stick our neck out for him and create problems for ourselves.”