Libyan officials confirm Abdullah al-Senussi, Colonel Gaddafi’s head of secret police, has been arrested in West Africa after fleeing Tripoli last year.
A spokesman for the new Libyan government said that Senussi had been arrested in Mauritania with a young man believed to be his son.
It is reported he arrived in the capital of Mauritania, Nouakchott after flying in from Casablanca with a false Mali passport.
“Today we confirm the news of the arrest of Abdullah al-Senussi,” said spokesman Nasser al-Manee. “The head of the Libyan intelligence in the Gaddafi regime was captured accompanied by a young man, suspected to be his son, carrying a passport from the state of Mali and who arrived at Nouakchott airport on a Moroccan airline.”
The spokesman said the government was pursuing the extraction of Senussi, and was seeking a fair trial for him in Libya.
However Senussi is wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. The International Criminal Court in The Hague indicted Senussi along with Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam last year for war crimes, citing armed attacks on civilians in anti-Gaddafi regions after the onset of last year’s uprising.
Senussi was seen as Gaddafi’s right hand man and inspired fear and hatred amongst ordinary Libyans for decades.
Many widely believe he was responsible for the 1996 killing of 1,200 prisoners at the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli.
A former colonel in Gaddafi’s army Senuissi was one of several Libyan officials who were convicted, in absentia, in a French court in 1999, over the bombing of a French airliner. The plane came down in Niger the previous year, killing all 170 people on board.
When rebel forces entered Tripoli last year, Senussi visited foreign journalists held in a hotel and proclaimed Gaddafi’s imminent victory.
“As for the crisis now in Libya, these armed gangs will never be able to govern Libya. We will never allow them to govern Libya. We are victorious. Victory is for the Libyan people not for the armed gangs.”