LIBYA: Kadafi son appears at Tripoli hotel
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Moammar Kadafi’s son Seif Islam appeared at a hotel in Tripoli, Libya, early Tuesday, more than a day after rebel forces had reportedly captured him.
Kadafi, a frequent spokesman for the regime and his father’s heir apparent, suddenly appeared at the Rixos Hotel, one of the remaining holdouts of Kadafi supporters where many international journalists had been confined in recent months.
Kadafi appeared outside the hotel in a convoy of armored Land Cruisers, according to CNN’s Matthew Chance, who has been camped out with about 35 journalists at the hotel.
Chance said he spoke to Kadafi briefly and took a photo of him.
‘I asked him where his father was and he said, ‘My whole family are in Tripoli,’ ' Chance said.
‘He’s a very free man,’ Chance said of Seif Islam Kadafi.
‘He drove off into the night in his armored convoy.’
Kadafi told Chance that the rebels had been ‘lured into a trap.’
‘He said word of his detention was a trick by rebels,’ Chance later Tweeted.
Seif Islam Kadafi ‘told me that their forces had broken the backbone of the rebel forces in Tripoli,’ he wrote. ‘Kadafi told me that he had been travelling around Tripoli in an armored convoy the whole time.’
In CNN footage, Kadafi appeared to flash a ‘V’ for victory at cameras, cheered and shook hands as supporters waved flags and crowded around him. He sported a camouflage green T-shirt and appeared to have lost weight, although it was difficult to tell now that he is sporting a full beard, perhaps co-opting the style of conservative Islamists, Chance said. “He looked healthy, serious,” Chance added.
Chance said Kadafi wanted him to climb into his car to tour “hot areas” of the capital where there had been fighting. But before he could get in, Kadafi’s convoy of about four vehicles peeled off. It was not clear why.
There was no immediate explanation from the Transitional National Council, the rebel leadership, which had announced it had Seif Islam Kadafi in custody Sunday.
Libya’s ambassador to the United States told CNN that another of Kadafi’s sons, Mohammed, had escaped rebel custody. The circumstances of the escape were unclear, said Ambassador Ali Aujali.
-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske
Bottom, members of the media conduct an interview at the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli Monday as one-half of the hotel experiences a power cut. Heavy gunfire rang out near the hotel where members of the foreign media have been staying and interviewed Seif Islam Kadafi early Tuesday. Credit: Paul Hackett / Reuters.