LIBYA. Unconfirmed reports say fugitive Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is in the loyalist-held town of Bani Walid, southeast of Tripoli, the vice-chairman of the rebels' national council said on Thursday.
"We have reports that Moammar Gadhafi has been in Bani Walid for the past two days, but these reports are not totally confirmed," Abdel Hafiz Ghoga told AFP.
He said clashes were still going on between rebel and pro-Kadhafi forces near the town.
"The revolutionary fighters are making progress and we are hoping for an end to the conflict soon," he said.
The insurgents had said they believed Gadhafi was hiding in his coastal hometown of Sirte, but a rebel commander said Thursday they no longer believed the fallen strongman was hiding there.
There were sporadic clashes Wednesday on the road between the rebel-held coastal town of Zliten, east of Tripoli, and Bani Walid 70 kilometres (45 miles) to the south.
A senior rebel, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday two of Gadhafi's sons, Seif al-Islam and Saadi, were holed up in Bani Walid but did not mention the strongman himself.
Seif al-Islam vowed late Wednesday that the loyalists would fight to the death, saying in an audio message that "Gadhafi and the entire family" are still in Tripoli.
But at the same time another son, Saadi Gadhafi, told the Al-Arabiya television channel he was ready to give himself up "If my surrender stops the spilling of blood.
Algeria allowed one of Gadhafi's wives, two of his sons and some of his grandchildren to cross the border on Saturday and seek sanctuary, angering the rebel National Transitional Council in Libya.
But Algeria's Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci said Thursday there was no question of granting Gadhafi himself asylum.
Located in the district of Misrata, Bani Walid is a stronghold of the million-strong Warfalla tribe, among the most powerful in Libya.
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