Saadi Gaddafi was smuggled into Niger by a team of ex-special forces soldiers from around the world, according to a former Australian soldier who claims to be the personal bodyguard of the son of the former Libyan dictator.
Saadi Gaddafi is facing demands for his extradition from Niger
– Saadi Gaddafi ‘smuggled into Niger by team of ex-special forces from Australia and New Zealand’ (Telegraph, Oct. 30, 2011):
Gary Peters, who is Australian but lives in Ontario, Canada, said his team of New Zealand, Australian, Russian and Iraqi ex-special forces soldiers escorted Saadi to Niger after his flight from Tripoli as it fell to rebel forces in August.
He said he himself was injured as he tried to cross the border back to Libya, but was able to make it back to Canada even though he was bleeding.
Saadi, who is facing demands for his extradition from Niger, was hoping to move to Canada or Mexico where he had investments, Mr Peters said.
“He loves Canada, that’s why he keeps coming back here, every year,” Mr Peters said of Saadi in an interview with the country’s National Post newspaper.
“He’s got investments here, he’s got property here. He wants to [move to Canada], but I was warned by RCMP (the police) that if he comes here they’ll arrest him straight away.”
Three of Gaddafi’s children died during the uprising against his rule – Saif al-Arab, whose house was bombed by Nato, Khamis, whose car was hit by a missile as he tried to escape Tripoli, and Mutassim, who was killed with his father after both were captured in the fall of Sirte.
But three children, Mohammed, Hannibal and Ayesha, escaped to Algeria with Gaddafi’s wife, Safiya, and Saif al-Islam is known to be somewhere near Libya’s border with Niger and Algeria.
The International Criminal Court, which has issued an indictment against Saif al-Islam, has confirmed it has held negotiations for his surrender through a third party, adding that he wishes to argue his innocence of the crimes with which he is charged.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor, said there was “substantial” evidence against him. “We have a witness who explained how Saif was involved with the planning of the attacks against civilians, including in particular the hiring of core mercenaries from different countries and the transport of them, and also the financial aspects he was covering,” he said.
Mr Peters said he had occasionally worked for Saif al-Islam and Hannibal Gaddafi, and met their father who was “very intimidating and very hostile”, but that Saadi himself was a “very nice man, very educated, very nice guy”.
“However, don’t —- them off, very revengeful people,” he added. Saadi is facing an international arrest warrant issued through Interpol for alleged crimes committed in Libya in connection with his time as head of the national football federation.
Mr Peters said he escorted “The Boss” – Saadi – out of Tripoli. He said they were picked up by the Niger authorities while crossing the border after abandoning plans to wait for a day they knew there would be no patrols.
He said he was now being investigated by the police, but that he had broken no laws and owed his loyalty to Saadi.
“I’m not a mercenary,” he said. “I work for a person in particular, have done for years, for close protection. When we go overseas, I don’t fight. That’s what a mercenary does. Defend? Yes. Shoot? Yes. But for defence, for my boss, and that’s what happened.”
He also warned that the remaining brothers had plenty of money available to continue the fight against the new Libyan government.
“People say, ‘Oh, it’s going to settle down, everyone’s got to pull out’,” he said. “Don’t believe it’s going to settle down because there are still three brothers there that are very, very angry. And three brothers that have a lot of money.
“And they’ve still got that money. We just purchased, brand-new, three Land Rovers, bullet-proof. We paid cash for it. That means there’s money around.”