Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, readying forces - spokesman

TUNIS Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:50am BST

TUNIS (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi is still in Libya and in good spirits, with a powerful army behind him, the ousted leader's spokesman said on Wednesday.

Gaddafi's whereabouts have been unknown for months and most of his entourage have fled or gone into hiding after forces backed by Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) overran Tripoli on August 23 and seized power.

"The leader is in good health, in high morale ... of course he is in Libya," Moussa Ibrahim told Reuters via a crackling satellite telephone line.

"The fight is as far away from the end as the world can imagine. We are still very powerful, our army is still powerful, we have thousands upon thousands of volunteers," he said.

"We have huge areas of Libya under our control -- on the northern coast, in the western areas of the country and the whole south belongs to us," he said.

"We are gathering our forces and we will liberate every single Libyan city even if we have to fight street-to-street, house-to-house, for years to come."

Ibrahim declined to say where he himself was.

A senior NTC field commander said Ibrahim was seen in the loyalist desert town of Bani Walid on Tuesday along with Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam who like his father is wanted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall in Tunis and Maria Golovnina north of Bani Walid, Libya; Editing by Louise Ireland)

FILED UNDER: