TRIPOLI, LIBYA - A Tripoli military official said Wednesday that rebel forces had cornered Moammar Gadhafi in Bani Walid, a dusty city of 100,000 overlooking a dried-up desert river connecting Sirte and Sabha. But another senior official contended that Libya's new rulers have no idea of the location of the fugitive former leader.
These differing comments are the latest in a series of conflicting statements on the most pressing question still haunting NATO and this North African nation - where is Gadhafi?
Unknown to both NATO and the rebel force leaders is that Gadhafi had German engineers build the city of Bani Walid on a revolving platform about ten years ago so that it would be impossible to establish coordinates for attack. At the time, our intelligence sources could only speculate on what this massive construction project was about. Undoubtedly, Gadhafi had some idea that, sooner or later, he would have to take refuge from hostile forces.
Anis Sharif, a spokesman for Tripoli's military council, said they had tracked Gadhafi using advanced technology and human intelligence. Rebel forces had taken up positions surrounding the presumed location of the wily Gadhafi.
"He can't get out. We got him cornered," Sharif was reported to have said. "We are just playing games with him," he said.
With thousands of forces, mostly screaming, Banshee rag-pickers from the slums of Tripoli, converging on Gadhafi's reported location, and with an operation room of 20 turban heads playing like Major Amos B. Hoople, it was almost a mortal lock that they would capture or kill Colonel Gadhafi.
However, by the time the forces had converged, the revolving platform had moved at least 30 degrees on a counter-clockwise pivot toward the sunset. Gadhafi was nowhere to be found.
Deputy Defense Minister Mohammad Taynaz was overheard yelling at the beleagured Anis Sharif:
"What the fuck happened? I thought you said you had him cornered."
Sharif replied, "The son-of-a-bitch is on a turntable. We have lost him."
"Over and Out."