Tripoli, November 20, 2011
Tripoli, November 20, 2011
Muammar Qaddafi’s intelligence chief Abdallah Senoussi, wanted by the International Criminal Court, has been captured near the southern town of Sabha, where he was hiding at his sister’s house, Al Arabiya correspondent reported on Sunday, quoting Libya’s National Transitional Council.
A day after Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam was captured in the same general region, Abdul Hafiz Ghoga confirmed in a news conference that Senoussi, the elder Qaddafi’s brother-in-law and loyal confidant, had been seized. Earlier, an NTC military official said Senoussi,had been surrounded at a house owned by his sister.
The Al Arabiya corresponded said NTC fighters from Zintan, in coordination from Sabha fighters, captured Senoussi, but that it was not clear where they were keeping him.
The International Criminal Court indicted Senoussi, 62, along with Qaddafi and Seif al-Islam in June this year for war crimes over alleged armed attacks on civilians in anti-Qaddafi regions shortly after the onset of the uprising in February.
Soon after the revolt blew up, media reports said that Senoussi had joined then-foreign minister Moussa Koussa in defecting. These reports about al- Senoussi were later denied.
A U.S. national security official said U.S. government agencies were aware that Senoussi, together with Seif al-Islam, had been involved in making some early peace overtures to rebels but they were rejected.
Senussi built up a reputation as the brutal enforcer of Gaddafi’s will when he was the chief of internal security during a deadly purge of regime opponents in the early 1980s.
Many Libyans also held Senoussi responsible for the 1996 killing of some 1,200 inmates at Tripoli’s Abu Salim prison.
Senoussi was a colonel in Qaddafi’s armed forces and the powerful director of Libya’s intelligence apparatus after previous posts as head of military intelligence and deputy chief of the external intelligence agency.
He was one of several Libyan officials who were convicted, in absentia, in a French court in 1999 over the bombing of a French airliner. The plane came down in Niger the previous year, killing all 170 people on board.
A leaked U.S. embassy cable from 2008 described Senoussi, who is married to a sister of Gaddafi’s wife, as playing a “significant role” as an adviser to Seif al-Islam Qaddafi.
Senoussi is a member of the Magarha tribe, believed to be the second-biggest in Libya to which Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the man convicted and jailed for helping blow up Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988, also belongs.
U.S. cables published by WikiLeaks site said Senoussi asked U.S. diplomats to help smooth the way for al-Megrahi’s release from a Scottish jail, but they demurred. Megrahi was released in 2009 and returned home to a hero’s welcome.
Al Arabiya with Agencies