Abdullah Senussi’s biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story

IntroHead of Libyan Military Intelligence
Was Soldier
From Sudan
Type Military

5 December 1949, Khartoum


29 August 2011
(aged 61 years)

Abdullah (al) Senussi ( pronunciation ahb-DUH-lah al seh-NOO-see; born 5 December 1949) is a Libyan national who was the intelligence chief and brother-in-law of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. He was married to Gaddafi’s sister-in-law.
Scottish police officers plan to interview him in connection with the Lockerbie bombing, raising the prospect of a second Lockerbie trial.


According to The Guardian, Sanussi has had a reputation for brutality since the 1970s. During the 1980s he was head of internal security in Libya, at a time when many opponents of Gaddafi were killed. Later, he was described as the head of military intelligence, but it is unclear whether he actually held an official rank. In 1999 he was convicted in absentia in France for his role in a 1989 bombing of a passenger plane flying over Niger that resulted in the deaths of 170 people. Libyans believe he was responsible for massacring 1,200 prisoners at the Abu Salim prison in 1996. He was also thought to have been behind an alleged plot in 2003 to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

It was Senussi’s marriage to Gaddafi’s wife’s sister in the 1970s that saw him enter the elite circle of Libya’s leader and assume various roles including deputy chief of the external security organisation.

US embassy cables described him as being a confidant of Gaddafi who makes “many of his medical arrangements”. During the 2011 Libyan civil war, he was blamed for orchestrating killings in the city of Benghazi and recruiting foreign mercenaries. He was believed to have extensive business interests in Libya.

On 1 March 2011, Libya’s Quryna newspaper reported that Gaddafi had sacked him.

On 16 May 2011, the International Criminal Court prosecutor announced that he is seeking an arrest warrant for Abdullah Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity.

On 21 July 2011, Libyan opposition sources claimed that Senussi had been killed in an attack by armed rebels in Tripoli; however, a few hours later the same sources recanted on their earlier claim and some even said he might have just been injured.

On 30 August 2011, there were reports that both Senussi’s son, Mohammed Abdullah al-Senussi, and Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Khamis, were killed during clashes with NATO and NTC forces in Tarhuna. In October, Arrai TV, a pro-Gaddafi network in Syria, confirmed that Khamis Gaddafi had been killed on 29 August and falsely reported that Mohammed Senussi was killed that day as well. On 20 October, Niger foreign minister Mohammad Bazoum told Reuters that he had fled to Niger. However, a Libyan fighter later told the Guardian that the rebels had the possession of three other men who were in Gaddafi’s convoy when he was killed and that he believed one them was Senussi. The other two were identified as Gaddafi’s slain son Mutassim and one of his military commanders Mansour Dhao, who was still alive and confirmed his identity, as well as details of Gaddafi’s death, to Human Rights Watch while in the hospital; Dhao was earlier thought to have fled to Niger.

However, later reports surfaced that Senussi from his hideout in Niger was helping Saif al-Islam Gaddafi escape from Libya. Senussi was reportedly captured on 20 November near the city of Sabha. It was afterwards reported that he would be taken to Tripoli to stand trial for charges of crimes against humanity, according to the National Transitional Council. However, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo doubted Senussi was captured. Libyan defense minister Osama Jweli also stated that there was no evidence Senussi had been captured. On 4 December 2011, Abdullah Nakir, a Libyan official, told Al Arabiya that Senussi was arrested and was being questioned about a secret nuclear facility Gaddafi was operating, but admitted that the Libyan government was unable to produce any photographs of him in custody.

On 17 March 2012, news reports stated that Senussi had been arrested at Nouakchott airport in Mauritania. The Libyan government is reported as having requested his extradition to Libya.

In September 2012, Lebanese foreign minister Adnan Mansour and a Lebanese judge questioned him on the fate of Imam Musa Sadr. On 5 September 2012, Mauritania extradited Senussi to Libyan authorities. Senussi is to be tried in Libya for crimes he allegedly committed during the time he was the close assistant to Gaddafi.

In July 2015, Senussi was sentenced to death by a Libyan court; the case was under appeal as of October 2015