After controlling Libya for 42 years, Colonel Moammar Gaddafi was captured October 20 in rebels’ final push on his coastal hometown of Sirte. Several videos have been released including a clip of him still alive and one of his dead body.
He was moved to Misrata, the town where the rebel unit responsible for Sirte’s siege was based. It is unclear whether he died in Sirte or in transit to the hospital in Misrata
Ali Tarhouni, a deputy chairman of the National Transition Council (NTC) arrived with reporters and medical officials for official confirmation.
While Gaddafi has been confirmed dead, further uncertainty remains whether he died from wounds he received in the gun battle against his stronghold or was killed in the street. What is certain is that the former dictator met a violent and gruesome end.
Muttasim, one of Gaddafi’s sons and former National Security Advisor was also killed in the attack, though he had been rumored to have already been NTC custody earlier in the week. It is rumored that one of Gaddafi’s last sons to be at large, Saif, fled Sirte in a convoy.
Mahmoud Jibril, Prime Minister of the NTC stated on behalf of his government, “we were serious about giving him a fair trial. It seems God has some other wish.” Criticism has come from the West due to the treatment of Gaddafi following his capture and the release of violent pictures and video clips. Some have seen this as the tone setter for the new supposedly democratic government. Despite such skepticism, Libyans are relieved and many consider a dark chapter of their history to be over.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon remarked in the wake of Gaddafi’s death, “Now is the time for all Libyans to come together. Libyans can only realize the promise of the future for national unity and reconciliation.”
The interim government has yet to determine what to do with Gaddafi’s body, though it has stated it does not want to bury him in Sirte for fear of his grave site becoming a shrine for his supporters and followers. Rather, they prefer to bury him in a secret location.
Sources: Al Jazeera; New York Times, Oct. 20; Reuters, Oct. 23, 2011.