TRIPOLI – Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi's wife and other relatives fled to Algeria Monday, the Algerian foreign ministry said.
The Algerian government said Qadhafi's wife, daughter, two of his sons and their children entered the neighboring country on Monday. It did not say whether Qadhafi himself was with the family.
It said the UN secretary-general and Security Council and the head of Libyan rebel National Transition Council were informed.
The report came as battles raged on two sides of Sirte, the southern city that is the headquarters of Qadhafi's tribe and his regime's last major bastion. The rebels were consolidating control of Tripoli, the capital.
Despite effectively ending his rule, the rebels have yet to find Qadhafi or his family members – something that has cast a pall of lingering uncertainty over the opposition's victory.
The Egyptian news agency MENA, quoting unidentified rebel fighters, had reported from Tripoli over the weekend that six armored Mercedes sedans, possibly carrying Qadhafi's sons or other top regime figures, had crossed the border at the southwestern Libyan town of Ghadamis into Algeria. Algeria's Foreign Ministry had denied that report.
Ahmed Jibril, an aide to rebel National Transitional Council head Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, said if the report of Qadhafi relatives in Algeria is true, "we will demand that Algerian authorities hand them over to Libya to be tried before Libyan courts."
Ahmed Bani, military spokesman of the council, said he was not surprised to hear Algeria had welcomed Qadhafi relatives. Throughout the six-month Libyan uprising, rebels have accused Algeria of providing Qadhafi with mercenaries to curb the revolution.