Disturbing images of a blood-stained and shaken Muammar Gaddafi being dragged around by angry fighters quickly circulated around the world after the Libyan dictator’s dramatic death near his home town of Sirte.
The exact circumstances of his demise are still unclear with conflicting accounts of his death emerging. But the footage, possibly of the last chaotic moments of Gaddafi’s life, offered some clues into what happened.
Gaddafi was still alive when he was captured near Sirte. In the video, filmed by a bystander in the crowd and later aired on television, Gaddafi is shown being dragged off a vehicle’s bonnet and pulled to the ground by his hair.
“Keep him alive, keep him alive!” someone shouts. Gunshots then ring out. The camera veers off.
“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.”
In what appeared to contradict the events depicted in the video, Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council said Gaddafi was killed when a gunfight broke out after his capture between his supporters and government fighters. He died from a bullet wound to the head, the prime minister said.
The NTC said no order had been given to kill him.
Gaddafi called the rebels who rose up against his 42 years of one-man rule “rats”, but in the end it appeared that it was he who was captured cowering in a drainage pipe full of rubbish and filth.
“He called us rats, but look where we found him,” said Ahmed Al Sahati, a 27-year-old government fighter, standing next to two stinking drainage pipes under a six-lane highway near Sirte.
On the ground, government fighters described scenes of sheer carnage as they told stories of Gaddafi’s final hours.
Shortly before dawn prayers, Gaddafi, surrounded by a few dozen loyal bodyguards and accompanied by the head of his now non-existent army Abu Bakr Younis Jabr, broke out of the two-month siege of Sirte and made a break for the west.
They did not get far. France said its aircraft struck military vehicles belonging to Gaddafi forces near Sirte at about 8:30 a.m. (0630 GMT), but said it was unsure whether the strikes had killed Gaddafi. A NATO official said the convoy was hit either by a French plane or a U.S. Predator drone. The Economic Times