Inside Gaddafi’s secret underworld
While rebel forces continue hunting for Gaddafi’s head, the nest of bunkers and tunnels beneath Tripoli and maybe other Libyan cities has become one of the prime focuses of their search. Even to those who have walked its passages, the underground network remains shrouded in mystery and danger.
NATO forces believe Gaddafi may still be controlling loyalist troops from this hide-out, so penetrating the secret passages may be the key to overturning his regime.
“The Rat’s this way” – says the sign in Arabic at the hatch. This is the nickname Gaddafi has earned from those who believe he has hidden underground to escape the invaders and rebel justice.
The sounds of the outside world – even shelling – cannot penetrate the dark and sinister surroundings of this secret compound. Some believe Gaddafi intended it as a bomb shelter, others see it as a facility for the Mukhabarat, his intelligence service.
“Rooms here are just packed with electronics of all kinds! It all looks like equipment for surveillance – no doubt this is professional but very old”, says RT’s Maria Finoshina, surrounded by James Bond-type gadgets which appear never to have been used.
Shelves with cases, black and brown, big and small, line the walls from floor to the ceiling. But amongst the abundance of papers, all classified and marked Top Secret, will anything be found which might shed light on the secrets of the Gaddafi regime?
It will not be easy to find a device to play all those recordings piled up on the floor – so it looks likely some of the “top secrets” will never be revealed.
“Here is a video tape. It says this is a recording of the interrogation of the CIA agent, a Palestinian guy, and his name is written”, says Finoshina as she sorts through the tapes. The bunker appears to be an intelligence hotspot, a place where Gaddafi strongmen unraveled conspiracies and thwarted plots against the regime.
The network of tunnels may stretch for kilometers and kilometers – no-one can say for sure how far it extends or what facilities hide in it corridors. There are even rumors that one of the corridors leads to the airport.
The underground journey ends with a 15-minute drive from Bab Al Aziziya, where the entrance to the underground compound is located. It is a distance of at least 20 or 25 kilometers! And this is just a fraction of the underground complex. With such facilities behind him, Colonel Gaddafi may remain hidden from his pursuers for a long time to come.