Last updated: 27 August, 2011

Libyan armoured cars cross to Algeria

A convoy of six armoured cars that could be carrying high Libyan officials, even fugitive leader Moamer Kadhafi, crossed from Libya into Algeria on Friday, Egypt’s official news agency reported quoting a Libyan rebel source.

The unconfirmed MENA report said six armoured Mercedes had Friday morning entered Ghadames, quoting a Libyan military council source in the town on the border with Algeria.

The source was quoted as saying the column had been escorted by pro-government troops until it entered Algeria. Rebels had not been able to pursue the vehicles as they lacked munitions and equipment.

“We think they (the cars) were carrying high Libyan officials, possibly Kadhafi and his sons,” the source said.

Kadhafi has been on the run since the rebels took the Libyan capital Tripoli earlier this week.

An Algerian border official, meanwhile, said the reported crossing was unlikely as no such sighting had been reported by local residents, although he confirmed the border post of Debdeb in the Ghadames area was open.

NATO declined to confirm or deny the reported crossing

“As a matter of policy, we do not comment on intelligence matters,” Colonel Roland Lavoie, the spokesman of the NATO mission in Libya, told AFP in an email.

“NATO does not target individuals. We conduct operations in Libya in accordance with our United Nations mandate to protect civilians,” he said.

Algeria declined to recognise the Libyan rebels’ National Transitional Council on Friday, insisting it would adhere to the policy of “strict neutrality” adopted since the start of the conflict.

A foreign ministry statement sent to AFP was the first official comment from Algiers since the NTC took control of the capital in neighbouring Libya.