Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Manson: murder, mythology and mistaken identity

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Turkish adviser warns US forces may stay in Syria

Read more

THE DEBATE

Has Merkel still got it ?

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Paradisia, Björk & Robbie Williams

Read more

FOCUS

From ecological disaster to small miracle in Mauritania

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Ukraine's deputy PM on Kiev's EU ambitions, corruption and Russian influence

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

A journalist murdered: Europe's media freedom under threat

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Top psychiatrist: Trump's 'mental impairment' poses danger to world

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Hammond teases UK budget with homebuilding, driverless cars

Read more

Africa

Inside Gaddafi’s underground labyrinth

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2011-08-31

A week after rebel forces captured Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, Libya’s former leader is still at large. FRANCE 24 has captured images of the vast underground tunnel system by which Gaddafi most likely escaped.

One week after Libyan rebels overran the former strongman’s compound in the capital of Tripoli, the hunt for Muammar Gaddafi continues. A crew of FRANCE 24 journalists was allowed to film part of the complex underground system of bunkers and tunnels by which it is suspected Gaddafi and his family escaped.

In the wake of the former Libyan leader’s dramatic fall, his compound has become something of a tourist attraction. But the focus of visitor’s interest is a hatch that leads to the vast underground network underneath the residence and, it is now clear, much of the city.

A frail metal ladder leads down to a heavy, storage-room like door, which opens to a dark labyrinth of corridors. Narrow passages seemingly go on without end, until they open on to small rooms or branch off toward different hallways. A strong smell of stale smoke hangs in the air.

“These bunkers that we're in go on for kilometers under the city of Tripoli. We could go all the way until the Nassera forest and then on to the Palace of Honor and then on to Green Square,” says Nabil Al-Arabi, one of the guards leading this unusual tour.

Further along is a bedroom. There is a bunk bed, stripped of its mattresses, and shelves where cans of stored food were left, presumably in haste, by Gaddafi’s forces. The guards say this bunker was used to hide soldiers and weapons.

The visit ends abruptly when the guards say it's no longer safe. A landmine could be waiting for intruders ahead. The FRANCE 24 crew is told that specialists are due to comb the bunker in the coming days.

Even to those who know it best, the underground network remains largely a dangerous mystery. NATO forces have reported that Gaddafi is still commanding loyalist troops from hiding, therefore shedding light on the secret tunnels may still be key in overturning his regime.

Date created : 2011-08-31

  • LIBYA

    Where is Muammar Gaddafi?

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    UN authorises UK release of frozen Libyan assets

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    Libya's interim leaders give ultimatum to Gaddafi forces

    Read more

COMMENT(S)