Last week, Saif al-Islam, son of Libya’s late leader Muammar Gaddafi, has made his first public 'appearance' since his release from prison in June 2017.
A video (below) dated on 20 July showed a crowd of Gaddafi supporters in Ghat – the southwestern city predominated by Libya’s Touaregh ethnic minority - listening to an audio recording containing a speech by Saif al-Islam. In it he is heard pleading with Touaregh notables to provide him with fighters.
Last October, we reported that Gaddafi Jr was building an army in Wershafana in a bid to regain power by force. His plan was interrupted when his forces were forced to flee that region ahead of an attack by unholy alliance of militias from Zintan and Tripoli. This new video indicates that he is still trying.
“First off, the Touaregh youth who are being used [as fighters] by Tripoli militias…need to be withdrawn. I am warning you, they will be killed… they will be killed, they will put them in confrontation,” Saif was heard warning at the start of the speech seemingly referring to Touaregh fighters who represent the majority of Misrata’s Tripoli-based Mahjoub militia.
Then came the turn of Ghat’s current military and political leaders: “Second, you must find a solution to your traitors. They have went too far. Every day they sit with an intelligence service of a [foreign] state, every day, speaking on your behalf! This is the only tribe without traitors. [Ghat is] The only region that is still purely green… these people? You should kick them out! You should know that Touaregh’s military and civilian leaderships are working with the whole world but myself. All I get from them is lip service, but in reality, they are not with me! Every day I hear about them in a [different] city… they didn’t spare Rome, Qatar, Paris, nor Algeria… Every day they are with a certain intelligence service. I need you to put an end to this”.
He concluded by making a direct plea to his father’s diehard supporters in Libya’s southernmost city: “Third and final point, you should select new military and civilian leaderships with which we can reach a swift understanding. The nation is about to witness critical developments in the coming days… Give us our youth from the Police and Army and let us talk to them, and rid us from the previous ones with whom we are really fed up,” said Mr Gaddafi to a cheering crowd.
His speech seems to have bore some fruit. A statement (below) released yesterday by the Touaregh tribes in Ghat and surrounding villages has declared their complete support for Saif as the new leader of Libya and vowed to support his electoral campaign.