Gaddafi to captors: don’t shoot, don’t shoot
Two months after he fell from power, former Libya's President Muammar Gaddafi was yesterday killed in his hometown of Sirte.
Reports said he begged his captors from shooting him after he was cornered.
“Don't shoot, don't shoot”, he reportedly begged after being found in a hole where he was hiding.
He and his loyalists were fleeing a NATO-led attack on Sirte where he had taken refuge.
National Transitional Council (NTC) leader and interim government Prime Minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who confirmed Gaddafi's death, said: “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed”.
Apparently rejoicing over Gaddafi's death, a government fighter, Ahmed Al Sahati, said: “He called us rats, but look where we found him”.
Gaddafi became the first leader to be killed in the Arab Spring uprisings. Accounts of his death were hazy last night.
Early yesterday, Gaddafi and his loyalists purportedly attempted to escape in a convoy of vehicles.
The convoy, which included head of the Army Abu Bakr Younis Jabr and Col Gaddafi's son Mutassim, attempted to fight its way through NTC lines.
But French aircraft operating as part of the Nato mission attacked the convoy approximately 3-4 km west of the city near the western roundabout.
Fifteen armed pick up trucks were destroyed in the raid, but Gaddafi and some of his loyalists escaped and sought refuge in two large nearby drainage pipes filled with rubbish.
Rebel forces closed in on them. Fighter Salem Bakeer told Reuters: “At first we fired at them with anti-aircraft guns, but it was no use.
“Then we went in on foot. One of Gaddafi's men came out waving his rifle in the air... as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me.
“I think Gaddafi must have told them to stop.”
Gaddafi was initially captured, with serious injuries, around noon.
The Al Jazeera news channel broadcast footage showed the dazed and wounded Gaddafi gesticulating while being manhandled by fighters.
The chain of events which unfolded next remains unclear.
Salem Bakeer told Reuters: “We went in and brought Gaddafi out. He was saying 'what's wrong? What's wrong? What's going on?' Then we took him and put him in the car.”
A man claiming to be an eyewitness told the BBC that he saw Gaddafi being shot with a 9mm gun in the abdomen around 1230 local time.
NTC official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters that Gaddafi was wounded in both legs.
“He was also hit on his head,” he said. “There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.”
An NTC information minister told Reuters that Gaddafi's body was being taken to Misrata.
But another account said Gaddafi was lynched. A graphic video showed Gaddafi alive on his legs. Around him was a group of armed gunmen who attacked and lynched him.
Earlier, Mohamed Al-Laith, the Field Commander for the Southern District in Sirte east of Tripoli, said Gaddafi was killed while trying to escape.
Laith told AFP that Gaddafi “was inside a Chrysler jeep, which was targeted by the rebels. Gaddafi tried to flee and entered a hole trying to hide.
When he heard the rebels fire, he went out, carrying in one hand a Kalashnikov and in the other hand a pistol. He was shot in the shoulder and the head. the man was killed on the spot.” He added that Gaddafi “was wearing a suit of khaki and turban on his head.”
He denied Gaddafi was killed in a bombing by NATO forces on Sirte, asserting that “the rebels of Misrata killed him.”
Mutassim was said to have been killed along with his father.
However, Gaddafi's eldest son Saif al-Islam was chased after trying to flee from Sirte.
A Reuter's reporter said he saw a video of Mutasam Gaddafi detained while lying on a bed, his clothes stained with blood, but alive.
Prime Minister Jibril said Gaddafi's death marked the end of “evils” in Libya.
“We confirm that all the evils, plus Gaddafi, have vanished from this beloved country.
“It's time to start a new Libya, a united Libya. One people, one future”, he said, adding, a formal declaration of liberation, that will set the clock ticking on a timeline to elections, would be made today.”
An NTC spokesman in Benghazi, Jalal al-Galal, said a doctor who examined Gaddafi in Misrata found he had been shot in the head and abdomen.
“They captured him alive and while he was being taken away, they beat him and then they killed him,” one senior source in the NTC told Reuters.
“He might have been resisting.”
Driven in an ambulance from Sirte, his partially stripped body was delivered to a mosque in Misrata. Senior NTC official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters that DNA tests were being conducted to confirm it was Gaddafi. His remains will be buried in Misrata, most likely today, according to Muslim tradition.
In Benghazi, where in February Gaddafi said he would hunt down the “rats” who had emulated their Tunisian and Egyptian neighbours by rising against him, thousands took to the streets, firing into the air and dancing under the old tricolor flag revived by Gaddafi's opponents.
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