Baghdad (ANTARA News/Reuters) - Deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is hiding in southern Libya under the protection of tribes, crossing occasionally into Niger, but transitional government forces expect to pinpoint his whereabouts soon, the de facto prime minister said on Thursday.

Gaddafi has been on the run since Libya`s National Transitional Council (NTC) took the capital Tripoli in August, and has eluded capture despite several leads to his location.

"The latest report is that he is in southern Libya under the protection of the Tuareg tribe, and from time to time crosses into Niger," Mahmoud Jibril told Reuters during a visit to Baghdad.

"Security is the most important thing for him. To specify where he is exactly even for ten hours is very difficult. I hope within the coming days we will be able to confirm where he is located exactly," he said.

Jibril said he was in Iraq to discuss re-establishing diplomatic relations between Tripoli and Baghdad and to ask for the fellow OPEC country`s help in oil development.

The NTC has mounted a manhunt for Gaddafi that focuses on the Sahara desert near the borders with Niger and Algeria. (*)

Editor: Kunto Wibisono
Copyright © ANTARA 2011