BANI WALID — Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam was reportedly seen in this region of tribal villages yesterday, according to the Transitional Council’s chief negotiator Abdullah Ganshiel.
“He was sighted yesterday. He passed through, he talked to people,” Ganshiel told reporters today from the outskirts of Bani Walid.
Gansheil said another “big fish” had also been spotted, possibly another son, “the ugly one,” he said, referring most likely to Saadi Gaddafi.
Of course, the rebels have gotten it wrong before.
Shortly after taking Tripoli, they announced that they had captured Saif al-Islam, only to see him show up at the hotel where foreign reporters were staying in Tripoli.
In Bani Walid on Wednesday, though, rebel Moftah Borgani said he was sure of it this time.
Saif was seen in a town square, telling a crowd of about 200 people that his father still controlled Tripoli and other rebel-held towns.
The rebels have tried to surround the town, which is really a loose collection of villages. But the vast desert terrain and tribal alliances in the town would probably allow Gaddafi's sons to slip away.
That is, if they’re even there.
The rebels can’t go in to investigate. Negotiations between the main tribe in Bani Walid, and rebels, have continued.
Yesterday, five Warfallah tribal elders were shot at as they tried to return to Bani Walid to bring news of a tentative peace plan that would have allowed Bani Walid revolutionaries to raise the revolutionary flag at the local government center.