Saif Gaddafi, son of the recently killed former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, is reportedly close to the Niger border and expected to cross into Niger within the next 24 hours. Saif is believed to be the highest-profile former member of the Gaddafi regime still on the loose.
The imminent arrival of Saif Gaddafi puts the government of Niger in a difficult position. The country’s government will be determined to ensure not only that it respects its international obligations, but will also want to avoid making any incendiary moves. If Saif indicates he is merely passing through Niger en route to another destination (Zimbabwe?), the Niger government might simply decide to let him pass.
Ethnic Tuareg tribesmen are reported to be helping guide Saif Gaddafi out of Libya and over the border into Niger. The Tuareg people were among Muammar Gaddafi’s strongest supporters and in the days before the former leader’s death, it was reported that a Tuareg army was being assembled to assist Gaddafi in his attempts to retake Tripoli.