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Uncertainty over Gaddafi whereabouts.

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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba

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There were conflicting reports about the whereabouts of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Monday evening as protesters piled pressure on him to leave office. The common thread on different websites and other news sources, however, was that the long-serving leader had fled the capital Tripoli. Some sources quoted the al Jazeera news agency as reporting that Col Gaddafi had fled to Venezuela. Other sources said Col Gaddafi left Tripoli to prepare for a last stand in Sebha, the small desert town where he grew up. Earlier, protesters on Monday took control of several Libyan cities and a growing number of regime figures defected, as demonstrators sacked pillars of Gaddafi's hardline rule. Cities including Benghazi in the east had fallen to demonstrators opposing Gaddafi's 41-year-old regime after military units deserted their posts, said the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR). With gunfire crackling in the streets of Tripoli, protesters also attacked police stations and the offices of the state broadcaster, Gaddafi's mouthpiece, as well as setting government buildings ablaze. Gaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam, appeared on television to warn that the north African country faces civil war. "Libya is at a crossroads. If we do not agree today on reforms... rivers of blood will run through Libya," he said in a fiery but rambling televised speech that betrayed a note of desperation within his father's regime.

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