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April 07, 2003

Saddam fled Baghdad 3 days ago: Ex-aide

The closer the coalition gets, the greater the number of rumors surface about Saddam's whereabouts
As US Forces tightened their grip on Baghdad, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, along with his two sons, fled the capital three days ago for his home town of Tikrit, 175 km to the north, media reports said.
"I have been informed that once he had firm evidence that the Americans were closing in on Baghdad, he fled to his home town of Tikrit," claimed Haitham Rashid Wihaib, Saddam's former Chief of Protocol in The Mail.

The dictator who used to being ferried around in a vast fleet of heavily armoured Mercedes left by way of anonymous taxis and battered pick up trucks in a convoy which would have looked like any other group of fleeing Iraqis.

"He has taken his two sons Uday and Qusay, and a handful of key advisors still loyal to him. In Baghdad, each local commander has been told to act as he sees fit," Wihaib said.

Wihaib, who claims to have spent nearly 20 years working for Saddam, said he also got to know Saddam's doubles.

"And the Saddam Hussein we saw shaking the hands of his subjects in that extraordinary walkab out on Friday, was definitely a doppelganger, thinner than the real thing and without his rolling walk.

"This was a stunt ordered by his son Qusay in an attempt to convince the Allies that Saddam was still in Baghdad and a last ditch bid to show the Iraqi people their leader was brave and prepared to fight from the capital.

"But Saddam is not brave. He is mad and desperate and, unlike them, is readying himself for exile."