Three days after Saif al-Islam Gaddafi's capture in Libya's south Saharan wilderness, the failure of local militias in Zintan to hand him over to the national government is posing a troubling challenge to the new regime's authority.
The determination of Zintan's leaders to keep Saif in the small mountain town appeared to be holding firm yesterday, underlining the difficulties Libya's fledgling leaders face in imposing their will on an assortment of local militias and councils that have been de-facto authorities since the country's civil uprising began in February.
Yesterday, local officials were saying the trial of the one-time presumed heir to the Gaddafi regime could take place in Zintan, a poor town of about 35,000 people, two hours' drive south of the capital, Tripoli. "We have a good system here. We have good courts, we have good judges here, so why should we take him away?" Othman Eturki, head of the town council, told The Independent.