A convoy carrying ousted Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's son, al-Saadi, has crossed into neighboring Niger, a spokesman for Niger's government said Sunday.
Niger's Justice Minister Amadou Morou told The Associated Press that al-Saadi Qaddafi entered Niger in a convoy with nine other people. He said the vehicles were traveling south toward the outpost of Agadez, where other fleeing Libyan loyalists are believed to be holed up in a hotel.
"I wish to announce that one of Qaddafi's sons — al-Saadi Qaddafi — was intercepted in the north of Niger by a patrol of the Nigerien military," Morou was quoted by AP as having told reporters.
Morou emphasized al-Saadi "has no status at all" in Niger, indicating that he has not been granted refugee status.
Last week it was reported that a large convoy of 200-250 Libyan armored vehicles crossed into Niger.
The convoy reportedly included officers from Libya's southern army battalions and pro-Qaddafi Tuareg fighters, and is thought to have crossed from Libya into Algeria before entering Niger.
Niger has faced increasing scrutiny for allowing members of Qaddafi's regime onto its soil. AP reported that al-Saadi's arrival in the country will likely intensify international pressure on it to cooperate with Libya's new rulers.
Al-Saadi was previously reported to have been negotiating his own surrender with the Libyan rebels. He was quoted as having said that "the most important is to stop the bloodshed."
Meanwhile on Sunday, anti-Qaddafi forces in Tripoli captured the former head of the regime's external intelligence service, a spokesman for Tripoli's military council told AP.
Revolutionary forces also battled their way back into Bani Walid on Sunday, AP reported, seizing control of the northern half of the town and fighting Qaddafi's supporters.
The fighting came after a week of efforts to negotiate a peaceful surrender of Bani Walid had failed. The rebel fighters launched a two-pronged assault on the town, but Qaddafi’s supporters have put up fierce resistance and forced former rebels to retreat Saturday amid a barrage of rocket and mortar fire.