TRIPOLI, Libya – Muammar Qaddafi was in Tripoli as recently as Friday but fled the liberated capital in the direction of the southern stronghold of Sabha in the same convoy as his daughter Aisha, who is now in Algeria, Sky News reported Tuesday.
Qaddafi met his son Khamis in a Tripoli compound last Friday, a captured bodyguard of Khamis said.
Qaddafi has not been seen since the rebels swept into Tripoli more than a week ago, and his whereabouts are unknown.
If the captured bodyguard's statement is true, it would cast doubt on reports that the despot was holed up in coastal Sirte, which rebel fighters were preparing to capture. The rebel leadership announced Tuesday that loyalist-held towns such as Sirte had until Saturday to surrender.
Qaddafi met Khamis at 1:30 p.m. local time Friday at his son's compound. Rebels attempting to capture the Tripoli compound came under unusually heavy and sustained gunfire, Sky News reported.
Qaddafi arrived in a sedan and after a meeting that lasted about 15 minutes with Khamis, swapped into a group of Land Cruisers along with his daughter.
The convoy was supposed to be headed south in the direction of Sabha, the bodyguard said he was told by his commander.
Neighboring Algeria confirmed Monday that four members of the Qaddafi family -- his wife Safiya, Aisha and sons Hannibal and Mohammed -- entered the country. But Algeria did not mention Qaddafi himself, and the bodyguard had no way of knowing if Qaddafi remained with his daughter or went in another direction.
Aisha gave birth to a baby girl in Algeria, AFP reported, quoting Algerian authorities. Algeria had close ties with Libya during Qaddafi's rule, and it has not recognized the rebel leadership.
Egypt's official MENA news agency reported that six armored vehicles, thought to be containing Qaddafi and his family members, crossed the Libya-Algeria border Saturday. The bodyguard, who is 17, left Tripoli in a convoy with Khamis and was captured by rebels after a NATO attack on the military convoy 37 miles outside Tripoli.
The bodyguard said Khamis was killed in the attack on his armored vehicle, which was reported by rebels Monday but was not independently confirmed. His body was not found. The bodyguard said many soldiers of the elite Khamis Brigade had given up arms.