TRIPOLI (Reuters/AFP) - Libyan rebels claimed to be close to capturing Muammar Gaddafi on Friday as their Nato backers bombed diehard loyalists in his tribal bastion, but there was no sign of an end to the war, or to international wrangling over Libya's riches. Leaders of the National Transitional Council, which has Western support, pressed foreign governments to release Libyan funds frozen abroad, warning of its urgent need to impose order and provide services to a population traumatized by six months of conflict and 42 years of eccentric, personal rule. But Gaddafi's long-time allies in Africa, beneficiaries of his oil-fuelled largesse and sympathizers with a foreign policy he called anti-colonial, offered the fugitive strongman a grain of comfort and irked the rebels by refusing to follow Arab and Western powers in recognizing the NTC as the legal government. Combined with the reluctance of major powers like China, Russia and Brazil, to see Europeans and Americans dominate a nation with Africa's biggest oil reserves, the African Union's resistance may slow the pace at which funds are released. While many African states have recognized the NTC, the AU would not do so as long as fighting continued, South African President Jacob Zuma, a vocal advocate for Gaddafi, said after a meeting in Addis Ababa at which the AU called for all sides in the conflict to negotiate a peace and work for democracy. "If there is fighting, there is fighting," Zuma said. "The process is fluid. That's part of what we inform countries -- whether there is an authority to recognize." Meanwhile, Amnesty International claimed, urging both sides to respect detainees' rights, said, pro-regime forces in Libya have raped children and rebels are holding African migrant workers as prisoners. A delegation from the London-based human rights group this week uncovered evidence of boys being taken from their cells at the city's Abu Salim prison by loyalist forces and raped by a guard, Amnesty said. Meanwhile, a rebel military chief told AFP on Friday that forces loyal to Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi killed more than 150 prisoners in a "mass murder" as they fled the rebel takeover of Tripoli. Meanwhile, an AFP correspondent reported that the putrefying bodies of around 80 people were found in a Tripoli hospital on Friday, apparently the unlucky victims of fighting that prevented the wounded from being treated. However, 17 patients were found alive, including a child, after having been trapped for days as rebel fighters sought to dislodge Gaddafi loyalists in the surrounding area of Abu Slim.