The son of Libya’s late dictator Muammar Gaddafi appeared for nearly the first time in a decade on Sunday to register as a presidential candidate for a December vote planned to help end the years of chaos since his father was toppled.
Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, 49, appeared in an electoral commission video in traditional brown robe and turban, and with a grey beard and glasses, signing documents at the election centre in the southern town of Sebha.
Gaddafi is one of the most prominent – and controversial – figures expected to run for president, a list that also includes eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar, Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah and parliament speaker Aguila Saleh.
However, while his name is one of the best known in Libya, and though he once played a major role in shaping policy before the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that destroyed his family’s regime, he has barely been seen for a decade.
His formal entry into an election whose rules are still contested by Libya’s squabbling factions may also cast new questions over a contest that features candidates viewed in some regions as unacceptable.
Despite the public backing of most Libyan factions and foreign powers for elections on Dec. 24, the vote remains in doubt as rival entities bicker over the rules and schedule.
A major conference in Paris on Friday agreed to sanction any who disrupt or prevent the vote, but with less than six weeks to go, there is still no agreement on rules to govern who should be able to run.
While Gaddafi is likely to play on nostalgia for the era before the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that swept his father from power and ushered in a decade of chaos and violence, analysts say he may not prove to be a front runner.
The Gaddafi era is still remembered by many Libyans as one of harsh autocracy, while Saif al-Islam and other former regime figures have been out of power for so long they may find it difficult to mobilise as much support as major rivals.
Muammar al-Gaddafi was captured outside his hometown of Sirte by opposition fighters in Oct. 2011 and summarily shot. Saif al-Islam was seized days later by fighters from the mountainous Zintan region as he tried to flee Libya for Niger.
Just over a decade later, Saif al-Islam is now something of a cipher for Libyans. The Zintan fighters kept him for years out of public sight and his views on the crisis are not known.
He gave an interview to the New York Times earlier this year, but has not yet made any public appearance speaking directly to Libyans.
Complicating his presidential ambitions, Gaddafi was tried in absentia in 2015 by a Tripoli court at which he appeared via videolink from Zintan, and which sentenced him to death for war crimes including killing protesters during the 2011 revolt.
He would likely face arrest or other dangers if he appeared publicly in the capital Tripoli. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court.
Educated at the London School of Economics and a fluent English speaker, Saif al-Islam was once seen by many governments as the acceptable, Western-friendly face of Libya, and a possible heir apparent.
But when a rebellion broke out in 2011 against Muammar Gaddafi’s long rule, Saif al-Islam immediately chose family and clan loyalties over his many friendships in the West, telling Reuters television: “We fight here in Libya; we die here in Libya”.
I Applied To Study At Oxford University For Fun, Says DJ Cuppy
By Abimbola Emmanuel
Popular disc jockey, Florence Otedola, better known as DJ Cuppy, has stirred up the social media space with her recent revelation about her education.
Speaking with a journalist about her education at the prestigious Oxford University, the singer revealed that her application to the school was just for fun.
According to her, she thought that learning at Oxford University was going to be online, but it’s not and she has no choice but to live in Oxford.
However, several reactions have trailed the revelation of the singer.
It would be recalled that earlier this year, the singer had announced her admission into the school to study for a master’s degree programme.
Don Jazzy Respond To Gay Allegation Levelled Against Him
Music producer and label boss, Michael Collins Ajereh, better known as Don Jazzy, has responded to a homosexual allegation pointing at him.
A popular Instagram blogger called out the Mavin Record boss and alleged that he is gay while maintaining that homosexuals have a woman as a coverup from the public.
... read: “Hello Tueh Tueh, ladies open your eyes o, this is the popular trend in the industry now, gay are not getting married to opposite sex thereby subjecting their spouse to emotional tørture, alot of your favorites are sitting pretty on this table, even one just welcomed a baby recently in the us, his hostility towards the wife is on another level, according to him, na my papa say make I go marry so i don marry to please am, una favorite instagram influencer dey on this table, your favorite comedian wey dey call himself aunty e.g that one all him client for this [email protected] knacking business na abuja dem dey, ladies be at alert, if you must be a gay or whatever, come out of the closet already, stop punishing our girls (sic).”
“Do your GAY in peace and stop deceiving our girls, come out of the closet, if we start to do roll call yeah Instagram fit catch fire now now, Don Baba J oga oga, i Dey hail oÀÄÅÅÅ i come in peace, igi ewedu oni woluwa ooooo (sic).”
Reacting to this, Don Jazzy reposted ... and wrote: “So I hear I’m gay all the time. Anyways click on the link on my bio. Subscribe to my YouTube channel. Click on the notification bell too oooo. Cos I’m going to be coming out there.”
23 Burnt To Death By Bandits In Sokoto Bus Attack
At least 23 passengers, including children, were burnt to death when their bus was ambushed by gunmen suspected to be bandits in Sokoto State, police have said.
They were travelling from the town of Sabon Birni to the town of Isa near the border with Niger.
Sokoto police command spokesperson, Sanusi Abubakar, told the BBC that several others are being treated in a hospital for severe burns.
Some reports suggest the number of those killed is around 30.
One of those involved in evacuating the casualties described the scene as “horrendous” and that most of the victims were burnt beyond recognition.
The attack happened late on Monday but details are just emerging due to poor communication services in the area.
Some reports say the attackers deliberately set the vehicle on fire burning the occupants alive while another account indicates the fire ignited on the bus as a result of the attackers’ gunfire.
The police say they are investigating the circumstances of the attack.
Muhammad Bello, the spokesman to Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State, confirmed the development in a statement on Wednesday.
“Contrary to speculations that over 40 people lost their lives in a bandits attack on a 42-seater bus traveling to Kaduna on Monday, facts have emerged that 23 people lost their lives during an attack at Gidan Bawa village in Isa local government area of Sokoto state,” the statement read.
“Security chiefs in Sokoto state, comprising heads of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, the Nigeria Police, Department of State Security and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps as well as the Chairmen of Isa and Sabon Birni local government areas had briefed the state Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, on the incident at the Government House, Sokoto, Wednesday, pledging to work with it on modalities to checkmate future occurrences.”
While commiserating with the families of the victims, the state government added that strategies are being put in place to prevent a reoccurrence.
Travellers are frequently targeted as the region continues to grapple with a wave of violence by armed gangs carrying out kidnappings for ransom as well as killings.
Additional reporting from the BBC and TheCable
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