Tripoli, Aug 27: Libyan rebels captured the Ras Jdir border post on the frontier with Tunisia, which it was feared Muammar Gaddafi might use to escape, as the hunt for the fugitive strongman continued today.
While fighting was still under way on various fronts, with the insurgents working to consolidate their hold on Tripoli, focus increasingly turned to a post-Kadhafi era, with calls for reconciliation and a peaceful transition.
The rebels claimed late on Friday a new military success with the capture of Ras Jdir. A Tunisian official said loyalists fled as more than 100 rebels arrived and raised their flag.
As one potential escape route for Gaddafi was closed off, Egyptian state news agency MENA quoted a rebel source as saying a motorcade of six armoured cars that could be carrying Libyan officials, even Kadhafi, crossed into Algeria.
The source was quoted as saying the column of vehicles had been escorted by pro-government troops until it entered the town of Ghadames in Algeria. Rebels had not been able to pursue them as they lacked munitions and equipment. “We think they (the cars) were carrying high Libyan officials, possibly Gaddafi and his sons,” the source said.
Algeria declined to recognise the NTC yesterday, insisting it would adhere to the policy of “strict neutrality” adopted since the start of the conflict. A foreign ministry statement sent to media was the first official comment from Algiers since the NTC took control of the capital in neighbouring Libya, even as other countries in the region have been quick to endorse the rebels.
The rebels want to find Gaddafi so they can proclaim final victory in an uprising that began six months ago and was all but crushed by government forces before NATO warplanes gave crucial air support.