Convoys of Moammar Gadhafi loyalists, including his security chief, flee across the Sahara Desert into neighboring Niger in a move that Libya's former rebels hope could undermine the ousted leader's support in his last strongholds in the country and help lead to their surrender. Still, efforts to negotiate the peaceful handover of one of the most crucial of those strongholds, the city of Bani Walid, proved difficult. Tribal elders from Bani Walid who meet with former rebels are met by angry residents of the city, including Gadhafi supporters, who fire in the air to intimidate them, sending them fleeing
The U.S. Embassy in Syria says President Bashar Assad is not fooling anyone by blaming terrorists and thugs for the unrest in his country, as security forces try to crush the uprising by unleashing a brutal crackdown that has killed more than 2,200 people in nearly six months. In comments posted on the embassy's Facebook page, U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford says it is clear Assad's regime has no capacity for reform. Ford's comments come the same day that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon levels some of his strongest criticism yet at the Syrian regime, saying Assad must take "bold and decisive measures before it's too late."
Yemen's prime minister conducts his first Cabinet meeting since returning from Saudi Arabia for treatment for wounds he suffered in the same June attack that seriously injured the country's embattled president. Ali Mohammed Mujawar, who returned to Yemen last week, presides over the Cabinet meeting in a symbolic show of defiance by President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government. Saleh is still in Saudi Arabia, rebuffing international pressure to step down. Yemen's political infighting has spurred al-Qaida activity in southern Yemen.In the latest fighting, four soldiers and six militant are killed in clashes there.
Tunisia's prime minister says authorities are stepping up enforcement of a state of emergency after violence in recent days. Prime Minister Beji Caid-Essebsi's nationally broadcast remarks come ahead of Tunisia's Oct. 23 election for an assembly that will write a new constitution, as Tunisia tries to build a new government after years of authoritarian rule. At the same time, the country's security forces march on government offices, demanding justice after attacks on police and the release of some officers arrested after the uprising that brought down President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January.
A Bahrain security court hears appeals on behalf of two prominent opposition figures who are on hunger strike and 19 other activists sentenced in the crackdown on anti-government protests. The special security court with military prosecutors and civilian and military judges was set up after the Gulf kingdom's Sunni rulers imposed martial law to deal with a wave of Shiite-led protests for greater rights. Of the 21 activists, the court in June sentenced eight to life imprisonment, while 13 others received shorter prison terms. Anti-government protests in the tiny, Sunni-ruled island nation started in February, inspired by other Arab uprisings.