Ransom: Rebels put price on Gaddafi’s head

By Ian Dunt

Colonel Gaddafi's transition from dictator to fugitive seemed complete today, after a ransom was put on his head.

An unidentified Benghazi businessman offered two million Libyan dinars (£790,000) for his capture, rebel spokesman Mustafa Abdul Jalil announced.

Meanwhile the rebel forces said they would offer an amnesty to any of the Gaddafi's entourage who killed or captured him.

"The National Transitional Council announces that anyone of his inner circle who kills Gaddafi or captures him, society will guarantee amnesty or pardon for any crimes that this person has committed," Mr Jalil said.

The development comes as Britain's foreign secretary demanded Gaddafi stop issuing "deluded" broadcasts and accept reality.

With rebel fighters ransacking his compound of weapons and memorabilia, the dictator issued an audio broadcast last night insisting that the capital was still in his control.
"Why are you letting them wreak havoc?" he asked the people of Tripoli.

"All Libyans must be present in Tripoli, young men, tribal men and women must sweep through Tripoli and comb it for traitors.

"I have been out a bit in Tripoli discreetly, without being seen by people, and…I did not feel that Tripoli was in danger," he added.

Speaking after a National Security Council (NSC) meeting in Westminster, William Hague said: "The regime has clearly lost control of most of capital and country."

The foreign secretary said the last broadcast was "clearly delusional" and that the regime was "in its last throes".

He admitted Nato and rebel forces had no idea where Gaddafi was.

"We don't know where he is," he said.

"I don't think the National Transitional Council (NTC) knows where he is. Obviously he's going to great lengths to make sure we don't know where he is."

Rebel fighters are frantically checking the compound for a secret tunnel network they believe he may have escaped through, amid continued intelligence from the US that he is still in the country.

There are reports that rebels are fighting in an area just south of Tripoli where they believe he may be hiding.

Despite the symbolic impact of rebel fighters entering the compound and the flying of their flags at the centre of Gaddafi's power base, pro-regime forces are far from defeated. The Al Hadba and Abu Salim neighbourhoods of Tripoli are still under Gaddafi control.

Outside of Tripoli, the Gaddafi strongholds of Sirte, his birthplace, and the southern desert city of Sabha, will be difficult locations for rebels to wrestle control of. The dictator spent considerable resources buying the loyalty of the tribes of the area and he remains a popular figure in the two cities.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said: "It is clear that Gaddafi's rule is over and that rebel forces control the overwhelming majority of the land in Tripoli.

"But taking a city is not the same as running a city and the Transitional National Council in the days and weeks ahead will face an important but difficult task of translating a popular uprising into stable government for Libya."

Despite the remaining challenges, the NTC will arrive in the capital today to establish an interim administration amid the chaotic street battles and gunfire which have dominated events over the last few days.

In Washington, US state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said frozen Libyan assets would be quickly unfrozen.

"We want to give this money back to the TNC for its use, first and foremost to meet humanitarian needs and to help it establish a secure, stable government and to move on to the next step in its own roadmap," she said.

"We hope this process will be complete in the coming days."

Rebel authorities believe 400 hundred people have been killed and 2,000 wounded in the last three days of fighting.