Militants Hunt for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi after Libya’s Arrest Warrant

Militants in Libya have declared a manhunt for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of the deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, reports said on Saturday.

The declaration by Libyan armed groups, who are operating in western Libya, and foreign mercenaries follow an arrest warrant issued for the 49-year-old over suspected ties to Russian fighters.

The Russian fighters first appeared in Libya in 2019 after joining the rebel forces of Khalifa Haftar against the UN-backed government in Tripoli. The conflict ended in a ceasefire in October 2020.

Reports said Libyan prosecutor, Mohammed Gharouda, issued the arrest warrant for Saif al-Islam on August 5.

A report said the government in Tripoli “had issued an arrest warrant for Gaddafi’s son, on suspicion of his involvement in murders during the Libyan National Army’s operation to seize Tripoli.”

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Prior to his father’s downfall and death, Saif al-Islam was considered the most likely successor to Gaddafi.

The Zintan Brigades, a militia group operating in Libya, captured him about a month after his father was murdered in November 2011. He remained in captivity for five years and six months.

He was sentenced to death in absentia by the Tripoli court of appeal, but the Zintan Brigades refused to hand him over to the government due to a longstanding dispute.

For years, the International Criminal Court has sought to extradite Saif al-Islam.

Saif al-Islam was released from prison in June 2017 after the Libyan parliament passed a general amnesty bill. Supporters of Muammar Gaddafi want him to run for president during the upcoming elections.

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Saif al-Islam has also hinted, in several media interviews, at the possibility of running for president to “restore the national unity” lost over the years.

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