1 Sep 2011

Conflicting messages from Gaddafi's sons

9:00 pm on 1 September 2011

Muammar Gaddafi's sons have clashed on the airwaves, with one offering peace and another promising a war of attrition as a final battle looms for control of the coast of Libya.

Meanwhile, NATO warplanes continue air strikes against loyalist troops around Colonel Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte - his last stronghold along the Mediterranean seaboard.

The BBC reports refugees are streaming out of the city, fearing a bloody showdown.

One of the colonel's sons, Saadi Gaddafi, has appeared on al-Arabiya television, saying he has his father's blessing to negotiate with the National Transitional Council.

The rebel leadership has promised him decent treatment if he surrenders.

But the former dictator's better-known son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, has expressed defiance in a broadcast on a Syrian-owned TV channel, and promised the fight will continue.

Colonel Gaddafi was also reported to have made a radio broadcast from Sirte urging people there not to surrender to the rebels.

Residents in Sirte have reportedly told relatives elsewhere in Libya that the city is without gas or electricity and dwindling supplies of food.

The National Transitional Council has given Colonel Gaddafi's remaining forces until Saturday to surrender.

Colonel Gaddafi's whereabouts are still unknown. Two of his sons, his daughter and his wife fled to Algeria on Monday.