Libya rebels: Talks resume over pro-Gadhafi town

By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI | September 6, 2011 | 3:10 AM EDT

Rebel fighter Ani Saklen, 25, a mobile phone vendor, chats with a colleague at a checkpoint between Tarhouna and Bani Walid, Libya, Monday, Sept. 5, 2011. Negotiations over the surrender of one of Moammar Gadhafi's remaining strongholds have collapsed, and Libyan rebels were waiting for orders to launch their final attack on the besieged town of Bani Walid, a spokesman said. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

TARHOUNA, Libya (AP) — A Libyan rebel negotiator says tribal elders in a Moammar Gadhafi stronghold are trying to persuade loyalists there to lay down their arms.

Bani Walid is one of Gadhafi's remaining bastions and has been surrounded by thousands of rebels. They have been trying for several days to strike a deal for a peaceful surrender.

Rebel negotiator Abdullah Kanshil said Tuesday that the elders want assurances the rebels won't take revenge. He says the elders are also trying to persuade Gadhafi loyalists to lay down their arms.

Meanwhile, a large convoy of Gadhafi soldiers crossed the Libyan desert border into Niger and rolled into the frontier town of Agadez late Monday, raising speculation about who was on board.

A Gadhafi spokesman says the former Libyan leader is still in the country.