IT emerged on Monday, that the outsted Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, may have escaped being cap-tured by rebel forces in Tripoli in a state-of-the-art armoured Mercedes Benz 4X4 ML provided by French president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
The revelation given by Mediapart, an investiga-tive news site, showed that the French president approved the sale of the £3.5 million Mercedes 4x4 to Gaddafi in 2008, then as the Interior Minister of France.
The vehicle was said to be filled with communi-cations systems capable of keeping Gaddafi in touch with his forces, through which it could also foil the kind of tracking systems used by the military as they tried to hunt him down.
Sarkozy’s role in Libya’s uprising, which started in March, had been criticised by Gaddafi’s allies, who blamed him for ordering French jets to start bombing Gaddafi’s forces.
Only last week, Sarkozy and British Prime Minister, David Cameron, paid a surprise visit to Libya’s interim government.
The investigative news site, Mediapart, claimed to have found documents proving that French technology firm, Amesys was allowed to provide Gaddafi with the command vehicle.
The revelation came on the day that pro-Gaddafi fighters fired anti-aircraft guns at revolutionary forces holding the northern gate of Bani Walid for a second day, as frustration with weeks of halting advances grew among the former rebel ranks.
Block-by-block fighting continued in Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte, with revolutionary forces claiming to have opened a second front in the east of the city.
Of Sarkozy’s armoured 4x4, Mediapart said “In 2007, the sale was approved by the then Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy and his chief of staff, Claude Gueant.
“The vehicle was eventually delivered in 2008, this time with the green light from the president.”
The site gave details of the armoured 4X4 Mercedes ML, equipped with a protection cage made by Faraday, which prevents all electronic fields from affecting the vehicle.
A military source in Paris said “Gaddafi has almost certainly used the vehicle to get away. It is a product of superb French engineering and an obvious means of escape.
“Gaddafi would be able to stay out of sight of military targeters and be extremely well protected if he met enemy forces on the ground.”
In a further disastrous revelation for Sarkozy, it emerged that the 4X4 was part of a £25 million-plus deal that also saw the French provide Libya with the means to conduct e-mail surveillance over their own people.
The deal was put together by the French-Lebanese arms dealer, Ziad Takieddine, which was at the centre of a party-funding scandal involving Sarkozy
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