Libya: Confusion at fate of Gaddafi aide Moussa Ibrahim

Moussa Ibrahim
Image caption Moussa Ibrahim was the international face of the Gaddafi government

A senior Libyan official has cast doubt on an earlier statement that Moussa Ibrahim, the spokesman for late leader Muammar Gaddafi, had been captured.

Meanwhile, an internet recording purportedly by Mr Ibrahim appeared on the internet denying the news.

The prime minister's office said on Saturday that government forces had arrested Mr Ibrahim south of Tripoli.

But Nasser al-Manaa, the prime minister's spokesman, later said there was no proof of the capture.

Other Libyan officials had also said they were sceptical, as such reports have proved false in the past.

"Moussa Ibrahim has been arrested by forces belonging to the Libyan government in the town of Tarhouna and he is being transferred to Tripoli to begin interrogation," a statement issued by the office of Prime Minister Ali Zidan said.

Tarhouna is located about 65km (40 miles) south-east of Tripoli on the way to Bani Walid - one of the last strongholds of pro-Gaddafi forces in the closing stages of last year's conflicts.

But the prime minister's office did not provide any photographic or video evidence of the reported capture.

The unverified audio recording of a man claiming to be Mr Ibrahim appeared on Facebook.

"We are outside of Libya," the man said. "We have no relations with Bani Walid and no contact with it. We are nowhere near Bani Walid."

During the war in Libya last year, Mr Ibrahim held regular press conferences in Tripoli at the Rixos hotel, which was used by many international journalists.

He was last seen there shortly before the fall of Tripoli in August 2011.

The reported taking of Mr Ibrahim comes on the first anniversary of Col Gaddafi's capture. The latter was seized and killed near his hometown of Sirte.

Interim leader Mohammed Magarief said that one year on, the country has not yet been fully liberated.

Militia groups which helped to defeat pro-Gaddafi forces remain powerful in many parts of the country. There have been clashes between militias in Bani Walid in recent days.

More on this story