Libyan strongman Moammar Ghadafi made a brief television appearance shortly after midnight Tuesday, just long enough to say he hadn't fled the country.
"I am here to show that I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela," he said. "Don't believe those misleading dog stations."
As he sat in a vehicle, apparently outside his house, he told a state televsion interviewer that he had intended to go speak to supporters but decided not to because of rain.
Ghadafi's appearance, which had been anticipated all day, came as troops massed in Libya's capital of Tripoli in what many residents fear could turn into a massacre fueled by what an eye witness in Tripoli told ABC News were foreign mercenaries.
"What I've seen today is hundreds, if not thousands of troops" that are gathering along with helicopters, said a Libyan-American who is visiting family and did not want to be identified. "Men on jeeps and military people in the town are coming in. There is going to be a massacre."
The military was gathering in the nation's capital as multiple reports described a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters. Demonstrations have rocked the country in recent days and have spread from Libya's second-largest city of Benghazi to Tripoli.
Multiple sources described foreign mercenaries on the streets of Tripoli shooting indiscriminately at protesters.
"They seem to be people from African cities, South Asian states, and for some reason, even European looking soldiers. But the majority of the ones that I saw seem to be foreign soldiers or mercenaries, whatever you want to call them," the witness told ABC News. "There's a lot of fear and tension."
Hafed Al-Ghwell, a Libyan-American analyst based in Washington, D.C., also said his family described a large number of African mercenaries on the streets, as helicopters bombed protesters from the skies.
"They are absolutely terrified," al Ghwell said, adding that his mother, 73, said "the shooting is happening right here in my bedroom."
Libya's UN ambassadors called for Gadhafi to step down today as protesters claimed to have taken control of Benghazi and fighting -- including the burning of government buildings -- spread to the capital of Tripoli where angry demonstrators stormed the state television station, set fire to government buildings and the Olympic Square.
"We have never been with Gadhafi. We are with the people," Libyan Deputy Ambassador to the U.N. Ibrahim Dabbashi told ABC News. It's "time for him to be prosecuted."
Dabbashi said he wasn't aware of Gadhafi's whereabouts and that communication was limited because of the shutdown of Internet and phone service.
Libyan officials appeared to be defecting from the leader who has ruled the country for 40 years. Ali Ojli, Libya's ambassador to the United States, condemned the violence by security forces in his country and accused the government of ordering the crackdown.
Two senior Libyan Air Force colonels arrived in Malta today seeking political asylum, saying they fled the country after they were ordered to attack protesters in Benghazi, according to various reports.