TRIPOLI, Libya — Libya's acting prime minister said Wednesday that ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi is thought to be recruiting fighters from other African countries and preparing for a possible insurgency, hoping to destabilize Libya's new regime.
The comments by Mahmoud Jibril reflected fears that Gadhafi will be able to use friendly relations with neighboring countries cultivated during his more than four decades in power to help him launch a bid to return to power.
"Reports have shown that 68 vehicles with at least eight fighters each crossed the Libyan borders to Mali, and Gadhafi is hiding in the southern desert," Jibril told reporters.
He said Gadhafi has made a deal with the Hamada tribe, which roams the borders between Chad, Sudan and Libya, to provide 12,000 fighters "to enter Libya and start the fight."
Gadhafi loyalists already have put up fierce resistance in several areas, preventing Libya's new leaders from declaring full victory nearly two months after revolutionary forces seized Tripoli. The revolutionary forces have also seized many other parts of the oil-rich North African nation.
Revolutionary fighters gained control of one Gadhafi stronghold, Bani Walid, this week.