Saif al-Islam
Saif al-Islam, the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, gestures as he talks to reporters in Tripoli August 23, 2011. Reuters

More than a week after the rebels first entered Tripoli, the hunt for Colonel Gaddafi is still on-going.

Despite millions promised to be made available as a reward for those who capture him, various reports about the Libyan leader's whereabouts keep on emerging.

Last week, the rebel fighters said he was hiding in a hole near Benghazi but by Tuesday, the 17 year-old former bodyguard of Khamis Gaddafi, one of the colonel's most feared sons, said he saw the leader heading towards the south of the country.

Previous rumours had him in Algeria or preparing to fly to South Africa, but his family has maintained throughout that the former leader is still in the outskirts of the capital Tripoli.

In a new twist however, both of his sons have publicly contradicted each other by giving contrasting messages to the media, with one saying he would negotiate surrender and another promising a fight to the death.

In an interview with al-Aribiya television, Saadi Gaddafi claimed his father had given him the go ahead to begin talks with the rebels to end the conflict.

"We were talking about negotiations based on ending bloodshed," he said, before allegedly saying he was he was prepared to surrender and give himself up.

Saadi's move was welcome by the National Transitional Council (NTC), with Abdul Hakim Belhadj insisting he reassured Gaddafi's son over the phone and assured good treatment if he surrendered.

"We want to spare bloodletting, therefore negotiation and surrender is preferable,"

"If this does not happen there is no other way except a military solution," Belhadj said.

But the offer of talks from Saadi was in stark contrast to the message from the most high profile of Colonel Gaddafi's children.

While Saadi called for negotiations on behalf of his father, his brother, Saif al Islam, who emerged from the streets of Tripoli a week ago despite reports from the rebels confirming he had been arrested, promised forces loyal to his father would not give up the fight.

In an interview with al Orouba, a station broadcast from Syria, he said his father was "fine" and urged on their supporters to continue the battle with the opposition and "attack the rats".

"We must wage a campaign of attrition day and night until these lands are cleansed from these gangs and traitors," he said.

"We assure people that we are standing fast and the commander is in good condition."

Saif, said he was calling from a suburb of Tripoli, once again contradicting reports he and his father were hiding in the south of the country.

As the rebels head towards Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, Saif also warned that up to 20,000 Gaddafi loyalists are preparing for an assault of the NTC forces on the city.

Sirte is one of the last strongholds of Gaddafi supporters in the country and the NTC forces are currently said to be holding talks with Gaddafi troops as they try to avoid more bloodshed, having warned they would launch an assault on the city if negotiations fail.

As the hunt for the former dictator continues, it seems that the Gaddafi family has decided to continue sending contradicting reports to try and confuse the enemy. In the last six months of conflict Gaddafi has insisted he was fine and in high spirits. Just last week, he reportedly told a Russian diplomat he had been walking in the streets of Tripoli. With the colonel's sons now adding to the confusion, it seems the former leader just wants to gain more time, and as the days go by and with the rebels now controlling Tripoli it sounds increasingly doubtful that he really still is in the capital.