OUAGADOUGOU (AFP) – Niger on Thursday did not rule out welcoming Libya’s deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Following a meeting in Ouagadougou with Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore, Nigerien Prime Minister Brigi Rafini also denied persistent rumours that the ousted Libyan leader was already in Niger.

“We hear all kinds of rumours everywhere… Some say that he is in Burkina and others that he’s in Niger but that is not the case as of now,” he said.

“At least for now, we have not given him shelter,” Rafini said.

When asked whether Niger would agree to host the fugitive Gaddafi, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague and by Libya’s new rulers, Rafini said: “When the case arises, we’ll make a decision.”

At least two convoys of Libyan vehicles crossed into Niger in recent days, sparking intense speculation that Gaddafi might have slipped out of Libya and was on his way to either Niamey or Ouagadougou.

Both west African countries have over the years been among the main beneficiaries of Kaddafi’s largesse and have been tipped as potential landing points for the ousted leader and his entourage.

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