Seif Gaddafi 'Courage' Surprised Captors

By All Africa

November 21, 2011 - "All Africa" -- -  Seif al-Islam, the fugitive son of slain Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi who vowed to go down fighting, showed surprising "courage" and lack of fear when he was cornered, his captors said on Sunday.

In an ambush in southern Libya, Seif and the five people with him in a two-car convoy "did not realise at first what they were dealing with," a member of the Zintan brigade of militiamen told AFP.

"They were afraid at first to be shot, but we must acknowledge that Seif al-Islam surprised us with his calmness and courage... He wasn't really afraid," Ahmed Amer said of Kadhafi's one-time heir apparent.

"We surprised them. They didn't have the time to resist" being captured, he said, adding in a telephone interview that Seif and his men were armed with little more than "Kalashnikovs, light automatic rifles and grenades."

After three months on the run, Seif al-Islam who is wanted for alleged crimes against humanity was caught in Libya's far-flung Saharan south early on Saturday in a trap set by the Zintan militiamen loyal to the new regime.

Amer and other fighters said Kadhafi's son who in February vowed to fight "until the last bullet" -- asked his captors "to fire a bullet to his head" as he was being taken to Zintan, a town 170 kilometres (110 miles) southwest of Tripoli.

Video footage showed Seif being hauled off into captivity in Zintan after getting off a flight from the desert, but despite the presence of an angry mob, he was spared the brutal lynching dealt out to Kadhafi on his capture last month.

Amer said his brigade had been deployed from Zintan on October 19 to try to seal off access to southern Libya's borders with Niger and Algeria.

Seif had taken refuge in the oasis town of Bani Walid, southeast of Tripoli, after the fall of the capital to rebel fighters in late August, according to Amer. He then moved south to Wadi Zemzem and then on to Burak al-Shati.

The Zintan fighters and the local Targuen tribe set up the ambush when he decided to flee by road to Niger. His captors said they were tipped off by a member of Seif's team.

"Seif al-Islam was arrested at 1:30 am (local time on Saturday, 2330 GMT Friday)" in the Wadi al-Ajal district, near Awbari in Libya's south, the head of the Zintan brigade, Al-Ajmi al-Atiri, told reporters.

"We set a trap and laid in wait. Two cars turned up with six people in them, including Seif. We arrested them with little resistance."

A Libyan television channel, Al-Ahrar, on Saturday broadcast footage of Seif heavily bearded and leaning on the end of a bed, with three fingers of his right hand bandaged and a blanket on his legs.

Atiri said the injuries were suffered in a NATO air strike.

The urbane Kadhafi son, who was normally clean-shaven in his days at the heart of the regime, was long seen as a potential reformer from within but proved a diehard apologist of brutal repression in the face of the Arab Spring revolts.

The International Criminal Court issued warrants on June 27 against Seif, as well as his father and Abdullah al-Senussi, the late dictator's intelligence chief, on charges of crimes against humanity in crushing anti-regime protests.

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