CBS News crew's brush with death in Libya

There was word Thursday that Libyan fugitive dictator Muammar Qaddafi might be in a town southeast of Tripoli. CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen set off in that direction -- and ran right into Qaddafi's men.

There are still vast areas of Libya where Qaddafi can count on strong tribal loyalties to make a stand. And as our CBS News team discovered, there are people still willing to kill for Qaddafi.

It happened on the road to Bani Walid where rumor had it that Qaddafi was hiding. The rebel area commander told us his men had taken most of the road but not the city.

"The situation in Bani Walid is not clear," he said. "Qaddafi is still in control."

Then we saw green flags flown by Qaddafi loyalists in what was supposed to be a rebel area. We stopped at a deserted checkpoint to do some filming.

A passing Qaddafi loyalist armed with a 9-mm pistol took our tape at gunpoint. Then as we ran for our van, he aimed and fired.

CBS News crew comes under fire in Libya
From hiding, Qaddafi vows no surrender

Riding in the van, we were in a hurry trying to get away from an area where a Qaddafi loyalist spotted and shot at us. We didn't know if he was still following us and we weren't going to hang around to find out. We were getting the hell out of there.

He pursued us, but in a mile or two, he gave up. We discovered later that one of his three shots hit the car's taillight while the others missed.

It was proof that Qaddafi has people ready to fight on. To encourage them, he sent out a new audio tape played on Arab satellite TV channels.

"We won't surrender again," said Qaddafi. "We are not women...we will keep fighting."

No one knows just how many will keep fighting for a dictator still on the loose.

The desert is huge -- a perfect place to hide and scheme. And that seems to be exactly what Qaddafi is doing.

  • Barry Petersen

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