, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 1 – Embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is reportedly holed up in Kenya, Capital News has reliably learnt.
The Libyan leader is said to have entered the country through neighbouring Uganda where he is said to have met a government delegation.
Government sources who did not want to be named due to the international sensitivity of the matter say that Mr Gaddafi is in Kenya in an attempt to secure a meeting with the visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to brief him on the situation in Libya.
For 10 days, an international coalition including forces from France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Qatar has been patrolling Libyan skies and pounding Gaddafi\’s troops and facilities on the ground in order to enforce a UN Security Council resolution aimed at protecting Libyan civilians.
The military campaign opened a path for the rebels to advance out of Benghazi, the opposition\’s eastern stronghold, which Mr Gaddafi\’s troops had threatened to overrun on March 19.
Capital News has learnt that a split is emerging within the Grand Coalition government as several highly placed leaders are said to be pushing for the asylum of the Libyan leader who is said to hold various business interests in Kenya.
Mr Gaddafi\’s regime has in recent years consolidated its investment muscle in Kenya, with a foray into lucrative ventures in the hospitality and energy sectors in the country. The Libyan leader pushed through the controversial take-over of the once-prestigious Laico Regency Hotel, barely a year after entry into the petroleum business with the purchase of Mobil operations which were swiftly aptly renamed OilLibya.
Libya had also exerted pressure for a stake in the monopolistic Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited for which it was competing with Essar Group of India. The Indians carried the day, however.
Those in government opposed to Mr Gaddafi asylum in Kenya argue that the country cannot afford to irk the International Criminal Court (ICC) any further following the failed shuttle diplomacy which was undertaken by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.
If the reports are confirmed, Kenya would become the second African nation to offer asylum to the Libyan leader. International media outlets, among them Al Jazeera TV channel, claimed on Wednesday that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had offered to shelter Mr Gaddafi.
The PNU wing of the Grand coalition government has not been happy with the decision by France, the UK and the US to launch air strikes on Col. Gaddafi\’s forces, with Mr Musyoka calling for a negotiated settlement.
Meanwhile, Libyan forces loyal to Mr Gaddafi have fought an increasingly bloody battle to keep the veteran leader in power with residents reporting gunfire in parts of the capital Tripoli and warplanes reportedly bombing protesters.
Scores of people have been reported killed in continuing violence in Tripoli amid escalating protests across the North African nation.