UPDATE: Muammar Qaddafi released his latest audio message Thursday, denying rumors that he is hoping to flee the country and vowing to never surrender.
"Our resolute Libyan people, the Libyan land is your own. Those who try to take it from you now, they are intruders, they are mercenaries, they are stray dogs. They are trying to seize our ancestral land from you but this is impossible," the former Libyan leader said is a message broadcast on Syria-based Al-Rai TV, Reuters reports. "We will not leave our ancestral land."
In an apparent reference to the reports about the convoy of loyalists who crossed into Niger earlier this week, Qaddafi added: "This is not the first time that convoys drive in and out of Niger."
UPDATE Tuesday, Sept. 6: A convoy of more than 200 military vehicles carrying Muammar Qaddafi loyalists reportedly crossed into Niger on Tuesday and is believed to be en route to Burkina Faso, a central African nation that has offered the former Libyan leader and his family asylum.
The likely destination of the convoy has led to speculation that Qaddafi may be looking to finally flea Libya, and a French military source told Reuters that it was possible that Qaddafi and his son Saif may have plans to join the convoy as it continues toward Burkina Faso.
But a spokesman for the Qaddafi regime denied such suspicions Tuesday, telling Syrian television that the Libyan strongman is still in Libya, where he is in "excellent heath, planning and organizing for the defense of Libya." The spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, added: "We are still strong and capable of turning the tables on NATO."
Meanwhile, there are conflicting reports about exactly who was traveling in the convoy. In a telephone interview with the New York Times, Niger's minister of justice described the group as a "small convoy" of unarmed people that had been allowed to enter the county for purely humanitarian reasons.