TRIPOLI, Libya, Sept. 2 (UPI) — A message purported to be from fugitive Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said his forces are prepared to fight “a long, drawn-out war” against rebel troops.
In the message, the speaker urged Libyans not to surrender to what he called “imperialist” forces,” CNN reported Friday.
The message said the Libyan capital was moved from Tripoli to Gadhafi’s birthplace, Sirte.
“We are ready for a long, drawn-out war,” the man purported to be Gadhafi said, adding that rebels “will not be able to fight a long war. They will retreat, day by day.”
“We will fight against you wherever you are,” the message said. “We will sacrifice our lives so that the sand and stones of Libya will become fire, and fight against you. You will never have peace of mind inside our land.”
Gadhafi’s whereabouts were not revealed in the audio message that broadcast on Syria’s al-Rai television. Gadhafi has not been seen publicly since Tripoli fell.
The message warned that Gadhafi loyalists in Sirte and other strongholds were armed and ready to fight to the death.
It came several hours after conflicting reports surfaced that rebel leaders extended, by one week, a Saturday deadline for Gadhafi followers in Sirte and other Gadhafi strongholds to surrender, CNN reported.
The National Transitional Council military commander in Tripoli said the extension was an attempt to prevent more bloodshed.
However, another military official told CNN transitional leaders were still discussing options and that “as of now [Thursday], the deadline is this Saturday.”
The Nigerian government called on the National Transitional Council to investigate reports of abuse of civilians stranded in the country when the uprising began months ago, the Daily Trust reported.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry said Thursday most of the abusive behavior was directed toward migrant workers and other Africans who couldn’t flee. The government said reports indicated civilians were killed, raped and extorted.
“This development is a deviation from the overall expressed desire of the NTC, the African Union and indeed the United Nations for the restoration of democracy and good governance in Libya,” the ministry said in a statement. “[The reports] run contrary to Nigeria’s call for the leadership of the NTC to be magnanimous in victory and can only stand in the way of peace-building, early reconciliation and reconstruction in Libya.”