Qaddafi’s air force chief flies home from exile: report

By Libya Herald reporters.

Tunis, 18 June 2017:

Muammar Qaddafi’s last airforce commander Ali Sharif Al-Rifi, who fled the country in 2011, is reported to have returned to his hometown of Waddan.

Rifi decamped to Niger after the collapse of the Qaddafi regime. He had previously served as a ground forces commander and during the so-called Toyota War with Chad in 1986-7, during which Qaddafi’s commander Khalifa Hafter was captured. Rifi was in Kufra organising logistics and reinforcements.

When Tripoli fell in 2011, Rifi is reported to have fled from Murzuq over the border into Niger where he met Tuareg leader and Qaddafi loyalist Ali Kana in Agadez.

He later moved to the Niger capital Niamey where he was a close associate of Saadi Qaddafi until Saadi was handed over to Libya by the Niger government in March 2014. It is not known if he then stayed on in Niger.

Rifi is only the latest Qaddafi-era personality to return to apparent freedom in Libya. Though it is uncertain if the dictator’s son Saif Al-Islam is still in the country after his release in Zintan,  former security chief Abdullah Senussi and other regime figures were freed from Hadba prison and are believed to be at liberty in Tripoli.

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