South Africa’s Ex-President Zuma Denies Holding $30m Cash Linked To Gaddafi

South African president Jacob Zuma stands in the dock of the High Court of Pietermaritzburg during his hearing over 16 corruption charges.  Phill MAGAKOE / POOL / AF

 

South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma has denied allegations by a local newspaper that he is in possession of $30 million (26.7 million euros) belonging to the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The Sunday Times at the weekend reported that before he was captured and killed in 2011, Gaddafi had given the funds for “safe keeping” to Zuma, when he was president of South Africa.

The paper said Zuma had stashed the money at his home in the southeastern village of Nkandla before moving it to neighbouring eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram Kill Policeman, Take Several Hostages In Niger

“Former president Zuma is not aware of any money directed to his Nkandla home from former president Gaddafi, nor has he ever received funds from Gaddafi,” the ex-president’s foundation said in a statement cited Wednesday by South Africa’s The Star newspaper.

Zuma himself tweeted sardonically on Tuesday that he was surprised to hear that he was keeping $30 million when he was in need of cash to pay for legal bills to fight graft charges.

“Sigh! I owe millions in legal fees…. I now hear that I have been keeping money belonging to my late brother Gaddafi. Where’s this money because His Majesty knows nothing about it?” he tweeted, referring to the king of eSwatini.

Zuma, who was ousted last year over multiple graft scandals, could be liable for the equivalent of $2 million in legal bills.

The eSwatini government spokesman Percy Simelane also refuted the existence of Zuma’s money in his country.

“We are not aware of any money secretly stashed anywhere in eSwatini from former South African President Jacob Zuma belonging to former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi,” Simelane told AFP in Mbabane.

South African Foreign Affairs Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Sunday said “there is no money that we are aware of.

“I have not found any money that belongs to Libyans. If the Libyans make a request for us to investigate this matter, we will.”

Under Zuma, South Africa had vociferously opposed the NATO-led military intervention to oust the Libyan dictator.

It also said Gaddafi should have been handed to the international war crimes court after his capture.

AFP

Gaddafi’s Son Eligible To Face Crimes Against Humanity Trial, Says ICC

The son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Seif al-Islam, announces his withdrawal from political life on August 20, 2008, in the town of Sebha, 800 kilometres (500 miles) south of the capital Tripoli.  Mahmud TURKIA / AFP

 

The International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled that a crimes against humanity case can be brought against Seif al-Islam, son of the later Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, rejecting a challenge from his defence team.

The ICC Pre-Trial Chamber in a statement said it had decided by a majority vote that “the case against Mr Gaddafi was admissible before the court”.

Seif al-Islam, 46, has been sought by the international court in The Hague over crimes allegedly committed in February 2011 during the suppression of a popular revolt in Libya.

He was captured by a Libyan militia in November 2011, days after his father was killed in a NATO-backed uprising against his decades-old rule.

In 2015 a Tripoli court sentenced him to death in absentia along with eight other Gaddafi-era figures.

The armed group who captured him later announced that he had been released and his whereabouts remain unknown.

His lawyers had argued to the ICC that he was now sought for substantially the same crimes that he had already been tried for in Tripoli.

But the ICC judges decided that the Tripoli court decision remained subject to appeal and, as it was rendered in absentia, left open the possibility of reinstituting judicial proceedings.

AFP

Libya Protesters Demand Release Of Gaddafi-Era Spy Chief

Libya Protesters Demand Release Of Gaddafi-Era Spy Chief
Family and tribe members of imprisoned former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanussi, demonstrate with signs calling for his release and showing his picture on posters, in the Libyan capital Tripoli on March 23, 2019. Mahmud Turkia / AFP

 

Relatives and supporters of Libya’s Gaddafi-era intelligence chief, jailed for his alleged role in a bloody crackdown during the country’s 2011 uprising, protested in Tripoli on Saturday to demand his release.

Abdullah al-Senussi, a brother-in-law of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, was sentenced to death in 2015 over the part he allegedly played in the regime’s response to a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled and killed Kadhafi.

Eight others close to Gaddafi, including the Libyan leader’s son, Seif al-Islam, also received death sentences following a trial condemned by the United Nations as “seriously” flawed.

Several dozen relatives and members of Senussi’s tribe, the Magerha, gathered in a central Tripoli square to demand he be freed over health concerns.

“The law and medical reports support our legitimate demand,” said one protester, Mohamad Amer.

Officials have not released specific details on his alleged health problems.

In a statement, the Magerha said his liberation would “contribute to and consolidate national reconciliation” in a country torn apart by inter-communal conflicts since Gaddafi’s fall.

The unusual protest comes just over a month after the release on health grounds of Abuzeid Dorda, Gaddafi’s head of foreign intelligence who was sentenced at the same time as Senussi.

The protesters held up photos of Senussi behind bars and placards reading “Freedom to prisoners. Yes to national reconciliation”.

Senussi was extradited in September 2012 by Mauritania, where he had fled after Gaddafi’s fall.

Like the dictator’s son, he had also been the subject of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for suspected war crimes during the 2011 uprising.

But in an unusual move, in 2013 the court gave Libyan authorities the green light to put him on trial.

He has since been detained in the capital, along with some 40 other senior Gaddafi-era officials including the dictator’s last prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi.

Seif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s son, was captured and imprisoned by an armed group in the northwestern city of Zintan and sentenced by a Tripoli court in absentia.

The group announced his release in 2017 but it was never confirmed and his fate remains unknown.

AFP

Adesina Replies Senator, Critics Of Buhari’s Statement On Gaddafi

Who Will Save Some Nigerians From Intellectual Laziness? By Femi Adesina
File photo: Femi Adesina

 

The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, on Friday replied the critics of President Muhammadu Buhari over the comments he made about the influx of armed herdsmen in the country.

President Buhari had on Wednesday in London said that the killer herdsmen were allegedly trained and armed by the late Former President of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi.

READ ALSO: Senators Disagree As Abaribe Questions Buhari’s Competence

However, the statement has sparked criticism from some Nigerians, including a senator who questioned the President’s competence while reacting to the security situation in the country.

In a piece titled ‘Who Will Save Some Nigerians From Intellectual Laziness?‘, Adesina noted that President Buhari was misinterpreted.

He accused those criticising the President of embarking on a mission to “demean, de-market, and demonise” him ahead of the general elections.

CLICK HERE TO READ FEMI ADESINA’S FULL STATEMENT

The President’s spokesman also alleged that the critics of President Buhari were only interested in problems and not solutions.

“The tendency now is to twist and slant every word from President Buhari in the negative, all in a bid to demean, de-market, and demonise him, and make him unattractive to the electorate. But those who do it are to be pitied.

“Sensible Nigerians know what the President is doing for the country, and would queue behind him at the polls next year. At the end of it all, the detractors would be holding the short ends of the stick, and looking small, forlorn and disconsolate. Where would they then hide their faces?” the presidential aide questioned in the statement which read in part.

Who Will Save Some Nigerians From Intellectual Laziness? By Femi Adesina

Who Will Save Some Nigerians From Intellectual Laziness? By Femi Adesina
File photo: Femi Adesina

 

Since President Muhammadu Buhari met with the Archbishop of Canterbury in London on Wednesday, and spoke on the likely impact of gunmen trained by former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, on the killings by herdsmen in Nigeria, some people have virtually flown off the handle, ululating as if wailing was going out of fashion.

They twisted the meaning of Mr President’s words (yes, some people twist everything, even the words of God; 2 Peter:3, 15,16). They claimed he was blaming Gaddafi, long dead, for the killings in Nigeria.

But let’s see the vacuousness and intellectual laziness in the twist they have given what President Buhari said, out of sheer malice and evil hearts. Sadly, even a Senator was involved in the sickening display of poisonous heart. That’s what you get when small minds get into high places.

Here’s what Mr President told Archbishop Justin Welby: “The problem is even older than us. It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region. These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gadaffi of Libya.

“When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram. Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons. The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions.”

“The problem is even older than us,” said President Buhari. If anybody is not challenged with simple understanding of English language, does this mean pre-Gaddafi? The former Libyan leader was born in 1942, and killed in October 2011, making him 69 years old at the time of his death. So, did he cause clashes between farmers and herdsmen, which the President said was older than most living Nigerians? Only rabidly mischievous minds can conceive such.
“It has always been there, but now made worse…” If you say something has been exacerbated by a factor, does it mean such factor is the cause? Simply illogical.

The President talked about the influx of militia trained, armed and used by Gaddafi, who now dispersed into different countries, including possibly Nigeria, after the Libyan strongman’s death. Are some people claiming ignorance of such development, despite it being global knowledge? So deep must be the ignorance of such people. Simple research will show them the Libyan influence on proliferation of small arms all over Africa, after Gaddafi’s death.

The President then talked about the herdsmen we used to know, who carried just sticks, and at worst a cutlass, saying those armed with sophisticated weapons were unknown to this clime. Is that not true?

If herdsmen have suddenly turned murderous in a country, it calls for all sorts of interrogation, including intellectual, as to what may have gone wrong. The causes could be multifarious. And solutions must be jointly proffered.

A President has sensitive security reports available to him. President Buhari gave another vista from which the herdsmen/farmers clashes could be considered, but rather than be reflective and do critical interrogation, the wailers engaged in their pastime: they began to wail, including senators and people who should naturally be level-headed and examine issues dispassionately. Very sorry.

“But we are working on solutions,” President Buhari told the cleric. They ignored that. It holds no meaning for them. They are interested in problems, not solutions. Problems serve their pernicious interests more. Pity!

That is what hatred does to the heart. It stunts the mind and poisons the soul. Such heart plays petty partisan and divisive politics with every matter. It is what President Buhari at that meeting called “irresponsible politics.” And as we head for general elections next year, much more of it would be seen, except such people reform, and put on their thinking caps.

The tendency now is to twist and slant every word from President Buhari in the negative, all in a bid to demean, de-market, and demonize him, and make him unattractive to the electorate. But those who do it are to be pitied.

Sensible Nigerians know what the President is doing for the country, and would queue behind him at the polls next year. At the end of it all, the detractors would be holding the short ends of the stick, and looking small, forlorn and disconsolate. Where would they then hide their faces?

Libyan Prime Minister Calls For National Reconciliation  

Fayez Seraj, prime minster, libyaLibya’s Prime Minister, Fayez Seraj, has called for a national reconciliation initiative, to repair the divisions in the oil-rich country, which started after the fall of former leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

Speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, he said the battle against Islamic state militants in Sirte, is in its last stages, although bombings and booby traps remain a challenge.

The fall of Gadhafi in 2011 brought chaos that divided the North African country into rival armed fiefdoms.

While speaking at the just concluded annual U.N gathering of world leaders, the minister explained that “in the last five years, Libya has been through a very difficult and critical phase that brought many political divisions”.

The U.N.-backed Government Of National Accord, (GNA), has been seeking endorsement for months, as it tries to extend its authority beyond its base in the western city of Tripoli.

“There was disintegration of the social fabric as a result of bloody conflicts”.

He re-iterated that a “reconciliation will provide political stability”, which will in turn, give way for “economic stability”.

“So we need a real reconciliation between Libyans inside and Libyans abroad as there would be no exclusion of any political faction,” he added.

UK Parliament Attacks Cameron Over Libya ‘Collapse’

David Cameron, Libya, UKIt does seem like the ghost of former Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, is coming back to haunt western leaders as a UK parliamentary report sternly criticised the intervention by Britain and France that led to the 2011 Libyan revolution.

The Foreign Affairs Committee accused the former UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, of lacking a coherent strategy for the air campaign.

It said the intervention was flawed as it lacked “accurate intelligence”, and that it led to the emergence of the Islamic State in North Africa.

However, BBC said the UK government insisted it had been an international decision to intervene.

According to the foreign office, the action had been called for by the Arab League and authorised by the UN Security Council.

Seven Killed By Shelling In Libya’s Benghazi

libyaAt least seven civilians have been killed and eight wounded by shelling in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

A hospital official told Reuters news agency on Saturday that the shelling had taken place on Thursday and Friday in residential areas close the frontlines in Benghazi, which has seen heavy fighting in some neighbourhoods over the past two years.

Forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar launched a campaign against Islamists and other opponents in Benghazi in 2014.

Haftar’s forces made substantial gains earlier this year, but fighting on the edges of the city has continued.

A special forces’ spokesman, Fadel al-Hassi, said shelling over the past two days had come from the Sabri and Souq al-Hut districts in northern Benghazi, where Haftar’s opponents have been holding out. The claim could not immediately be verified.

Earlier this week jets pounded Sabri and Souq al-Hut and at least six men from Haftar’s forces were killed in fighting on the ground.

Libya has been in turmoil since veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi was forced from power in an uprising five years ago.

United Nations-backed unity government is designed to replace two rival governments that have competed for power from Tripoli and from the east since 2014, backed by complex alliances of armed groups.

Libya: Rival Parliament Leaders Hold First Meeting

Libya's rival Parliament Leaders- Agila Salah and Nouri AbusahmenIn a bid to resolve the crisis in Libya, the heads of the country’s two rival parliaments have met for the first time.

Agila Salah, from the internationally recognised congress in the eastern city of Tobruk, and Nouri Abusahmen, from the Tripoli-based General National Congress, held talks in Malta.

But the expected signing of a UN plan for a national unity government has been postponed till Thursday.

Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

Amid the turmoil, the country has become a major departure point for some of the thousands of migrants travelling to Europe.

The Islamic State (ISIS) group is also taking advantage of the instability to expand inside Libya.

The meeting in Malta between the two men follows weekend talks in Rome in which world powers urged Libya’s warring factions to stop fighting and back a unity government.

US Air Strike Kills Libya Islamic State Head

Islamic State-2Air strike by the US has killed the leader of the Islamic State (IS) group in Libya, the Pentagon said on Saturday.

Iraqi national Abu Nabil, also known as Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al-Zubaydi, was a “long-time al-Qaeda operative and the senior Isil leader in Libya”, it said, using another acronym for IS.

There was no word on the location of the strike that took place on Friday night.

The Pentagon said the strike demonstrated that it would “go after Isil leaders wherever they operate”.

Pentagon spokesman, Peter Cook, said the operation had been authorised and taken place before terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday evening.

According to a BBC report, Mr Cook stated that Nabil may have been the IS spokesman pictured in a February 2015 video showing the apparent execution of Coptic Christians in Libya.

“Nabil’s death will degrade Isil’s ability to meet the group’s objectives in Libya, including recruiting new Isil members, establishing bases in Libya, and planning external attacks on the United States,” he said.

It has been four years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, but Libya has remained in chaos and the growth of Islamic State there has become a source of worry for Western governments.

Libya Crisis: UN Proposes National Unity Government

Bernardino Leon on libya crisisThe United Nations envoy for Libya has proposed the formation of a national unity government, after months of difficult talks.

Since 2014,  Libya has had two rival parliaments; an Islamist-backed one in Tripoli and an internationally recognised government in the East.

However, several MPs on both sides of the divide have described the latest announcement as premature.

UN envoy, Bernardino Leon, told a news conference in Morocco that Fayez Sarraj would be nominated as Prime Minister.

“We believe this list can work,” Leon said.

“What I ask all the Libyans is not to think what is missing, what they would have liked to see in this list and they don’t see, but to think that this, if supported by all Libyans, will be the best government in the world.”

Abdulsalam Bilashahir, of the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC), told the BBC: “We are not a part of this [proposed] government. It means nothing to us and we were not consulted.”

Ibrahim Alzaghiat, of the House Of Representatives (HOR), based in Tobruk, said: “This proposed government will lead to the division of Libya and will turn it into a joke. Mr Leon’s choice was unwise.”

Four years since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, the oil-rich nation has remained gripped in chaos. Last August, a loose alliance of Islamist-backed fighters seized the capital, forcing the internationally recognized government to flee to the eastern city of Tobruk.

It is not clear if the UN proposals, which came after months of protracted negotiations and amid continuing fighting on the ground, would be accepted by both sides.

In addition to the estimated 2.44 million people in need of humanitarian aid, the civil war has also hurt the nation’s oil-dependent economy.

Gaddafi’s Son Sentenced To Death

GaddafiA Libyan court passed a death sentence in absentia on Muammar Gaddafi’s most prominent son, Saif al-Islam, on Tuesday for war crimes and acts to crush peaceful protests during the country’s 2011 revolution that ended his father’s rule.

The court also sentenced to death by firing squad eight other former Gaddafi regime officials including his former intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi and ex-prime minister, Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, on the same charges,

The Chief Investigator at the Tripoli State Prosecutor’s office, Sadiq al-Sur, said this.

He told a news conference carried by al-Nabaa television that eight other ex-officials received life sentences and seven were given jail terms of 12 years each. Four were acquitted. All but Saif al-Islam are in judicial custody.

The verdict on al-Islam was passed in absentia in Tripoli since he has been held for four years by a former rebel group in the Zintan region beyond central government control.

The trial began in April 2014 before fighting between rival factions in Tripoli ripped Libya apart in a power struggle which has produced two governments competing for central authority.

The sentences can be appealed and must be confirmed by Libya’s highest court.

The International Criminal Court and rights groups say they worry about the fairness and competence of Libya’s judicial system, although it won the right in 2013 to try Senussi at home instead of at the ICC in The Hague.