South African contractors were securing Gaddafi’s last retreat, but failed and fled. This is according to one of 19 soldiers allegedly hired for the mission of escorting the colonel to Niger. He has shared the story with a local newspaper.
A South African soldier, Danie Odendaal, who is being treated in a North African hospital, claimed in an interview with Rapport newspaper, that he was one of the contractors from the colonel’s convoy who managed to survive NATO’s pin-point airstrike and an attack by Libyan revolutionary fighters.
According to Odendaal, they all believed they would manage get Gaddafi out of Sirte, but their mission ended up a total failure. His jeep was hit by a NATO missile as the convoy was moving away from Sirte.
Gaddafi and several of his loyalists left the cars and took refuge in a storm-water drain under the road, where they were later found.
After the NATO airstrike, the NTC’s ground forces focused their fire on Gaddafi and his bodyguards of Libyan origin. They mercifully allowed foreign soldiers to flee, which is why only two of 19 contractors were killed in action, Odendaal said.
South African authorities insist this report is nothing more than a rumor, as there is no way to verify Odendaal’s story.
“They [the mercenaries] wouldn’t have gone through official channels, so we’ve got no way of independently verifying these allegations,” said spokesman for the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, Clayson Monyela, as cited by timeslive.co.za news site.