Moamer Kadhafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, has passed from Niger into Mali, security sources from both countries said Thursday.
“Abdullah al-Senussi has arrived in the Malian desert, from Niger,” where he was believed to be hiding under the protection of some Tuaregs, a Niger security source said on condition of anonymity.
The information was confirmed by a security source from northern Mali, who said Senoussi, who was a top aide to the late Libyan leader killed on October 20, was travelling with a small group.
It was not known if Kadhafi’s son and heir-apparent Seif al-Islam was travelling with the group. Seif was also believed to be hiding in Niger after forces backing Libya’s new rulers killed his father in Sirte.
Both Senussi and Seif are subjects of an arrest warrant issued by the ICC on June 27 for crimes against humanity, which also targeted Kadhafi.
In September Interpol issued a “red notice” for the trio.
Senussi, 62, who is also Kadhafi’s brother-in-law, is also wanted by Paris, where he was sentenced in absentia to life in prison for the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airliner that claimed 170 lives.
Hundreds of Malians who fought in Libya for Kadhafi’s forces, against the National Transition Council which has seized power in Tripoli, recently returned to the north of the country.
They are mostly former Tuareg rebels whose insurgencies against Bamako were backed by Kadhafi in the nineties and between 2006 and 2009.
Their return is a source of concern in the region which is already unstable due to the growing threat of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which kidnaps westerners, carries out attacks and is heavily involved in drug and arms trafficking.
Mali is a signatory to the Rome Statute which established the International Criminal Court, and is theoretically obliged to hand over wanted persons.