Former Libyan ruler Colonel Gadaffi's widow, Safia Farkash Gadaffi, has been given permission to return back to Libya to her home town of Bayda, in the east of the country.
Libyan officials have allowed Colonel Gaddafi's widow to return from exile abroad as part of a new program of national reconciliation.The Libyan authorities are keen to pacify the country's pro-Gaddafi tribes ahead of a planned major battle to retake the Islamic State-held city of Sirte, Colonel Gaddafi's home town.Strangely enough, the Telegraph does not say which Libyan officials have allowed Safia to return. I presume it is not those of the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli but the government of PM Al-Thinni of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR). Many government facilities of the HoR are in Bayda and the HoR does not yet recognize the GNA since the HoR has not held an official vote of confidence in the GNA or amended the constitutional declaration of 2011. The local municipal council also agreed to the return of Safia and a number of her children. According to one source :
Libyan authorities are embarking on this move to appease pro-Gaddafi tribes prior to their planned battle to retake the Islamic State-held city of Sirte, also the hometown of Colonel Gaddafi.Again the "Libyan authorities" are not identified but are probably those of the HoR government. Both Haftar, commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA) of the HoR, and the GNA are planning campaigns to retake Sirte. Sirte has many Gaddafi loyalists but is now the headquarters of the Islamic State in Syria. Many loyalists were embittered by their experience within the Salvation Government of the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC) and allied themselves with the jihadists in spite of Gadaffi's opposition to radical Islamists.
In 1987, he became a prisoner of war during the war against Chad. While held prisoner, he and his fellow officers formed a group hoping to overthrow Gaddafi. He was released around 1990 in a deal with the United States government and spent nearly two decades in the United States, gaining U.S. citizenship.[3Many in Gadaffi's forces joined the rebels eventually with a number of them now serving with Haftar in the LNA. Haftar played an important military role in the revolution but some fear that Haftar wants to return to a Gadaffi-like regime. His Operation Dignity started in May of 2014 to rid Libya of Islamists, is aimed at all Islamists who oppose him not just the Islamic State.
On 29 August, the Algerian government officially announced that Safia together with daughter Ayesha and sons Muhammad and Hannibal, had crossed into Algeria early on 29 August. An Algerian Foreign Ministry official said all the people in the convoy were now in Algiers, and that none of them had been named in warrants issued by the International Criminal Court for possible war crimes charges.Safia breached some of the terms for her staying in Algeria and had to leave with other members of her family. They went to the Gulf state of Oman where they were given political asylum. Safia is reputed to be very rich although in March of 2012 the central bank of the UAE ordered all her accounts in the country frozen along with those of other former high-ranking officials of the Gadaffi government. The Wikipedia entry on Safia says: " It has been estimated that Farkash has an independent wealth of US$30Bn, which includes 20 tons of gold." There is a note that the source for this is not reliable!