[Dehai-WN] (Reuters): Gaddafi caught like "rat" in a drain, humiliated and shot

[Dehai-WN] (Reuters): Gaddafi caught like "rat" in a drain, humiliated and shot

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2011 00:54:59 +0200

Gaddafi caught like "rat" in a drain, humiliated and shot

Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:32pm GMT

* Gaddafi captured alive

* Former strongman said hiding in drainage pipe

* NTC said no order given to kill him (Adds ambulance driver quotes, more
video evidence)

By Tim Gaynor and Taha Zargoun

SIRTE, Libya, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi made his final dash for
freedom shortly before dawn prayers. Libya's ousted leader, a few dozen
loyal bodyguards and the head of his now non-existent army Abu Bakr Younis
Jabr, broke out of the two-month siege of his home town Sirte and, forming a
convoy of six dozen vehicles, raced through the outskirts to the west.

They did not get far.

French aircraft struck military vehicles belonging to Gaddafi forces near
Sirte at about 8:30 a.m. (0630 GMT), said officials.

Images of the drama that followed were soon whizzing around the globe.
Footage of a bloodstained and shaken Gaddafi dragged by angry fighters cuts
away before what could have been the inglorious end, leaving open the
question of how exactly the dictator died.

Interviews conducted separately with those who say they were present build
up a picture of Gaddafi's final hours, and together with the footage, give
clues about his last stand and demise.

Gaddafi was still alive when he was captured outside Sirte.

But a succession of shaky mobile phone videos, filmed by government
fighters, show that very soon after his capture Gaddafi already had blood
streaming down the side of his face and onto his scarf and shirt from a
wound close to his left ear.

Later he is hauled onto the bonnet of a Toyota pick-up truck and held in a
sitting position by the scruff of his shirt.

Looking dazed with blood now streaming down the left of his face, Gaddafi
can be heard saying "God forbids this" several times as slaps from the crowd
rain down on his head.

"This is for Misrata, you dog," said one man slapping him. The unit which
captured Gaddafi was from Misrata, a city that suffered widespread
destruction in a lengthy siege after its citizens rose up against 42 years
of one-man rule.

"Do you know right from wrong?" Gaddafi says.

"Shut up you dog," someone replies as more blows rain down.

Mahmoud Hamada, a fighter clearly recognisable from the films as being there
at the time, said Gaddafi was already barely able to walk when he was

Hamada said he and others hauled the former despot onto the front of the
truck to get him through the crush of fighters to a waiting ambulance some
500 metres (yards) away.

One video shows Gaddafi being heaved off the bonnet of the truck and dragged
towards a car, then pulled down by his hair. "Keep him alive, keep him
alive!" someone shouts.

But another man in the crowd lets out a high-pitched hysterical scream.
Gaddafi then goes out of view and gunshots ring out. Hamada said he did not
see Gaddafi dragged to the ground and said the ousted leader was in a bad
way, but alive when he was put into the waiting ambulance and it drove away.


"They captured him alive and while he was being taken away, they beat him
and then they killed him," one senior National Transitional Council source
told Reuters. "He might have been resisting."

In what appeared to contradict the events in the video, Libya's ruling NTC
said Gaddafi was shot in the head in crossfire between government troops and
his own supporters while being taken away in the ambulance. He died from the
wound minutes before reaching hospital, the prime minister said, but no
order had been given to kill him.

But the ambulance driver, Ali Jaghdoun, said Gaddafi was already dead when
he picked him up and he then drove the body to the city of Misrata. "I
didn't try to revive him because he was already dead," Jaghdoun said.

That was borne out by video footage which showed what appeared to be
Gaddafi's lifeless corpse being loaded into an ambulance in Sirte.

There was also no damage to Jaghdoun's ambulance.

A Reuters witness who saw Gaddafi's body in Misrata on Friday said it bore a
bullet hole on the left side of the head, as well as a large bruise on one
side and scratch marks.

There is a possibility that Gaddafi may have received the head wound before
or very soon after his capture in a drainage pipe on the outskirts of Sirte
and died later of that wound.

Gaddafi called the rebels who rose up against his autocratic rule "rats",
but in the end 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.


Two miles (3 km) west of Sirte, there were three clusters of cars and
pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns burnt out, smashed and smouldering
-- one group of 11 vehicles next to an electricity substation, three cars in
a field and another cluster of seven pick-ups in another field.

They had clearly been hit by a force far beyond anything the motley army the
former rebels has assembled during eight months of revolt to overthrow the
once feared leader.

Inside some of the trucks still in their seats sat the charred skeletal
remains of drivers and passengers killed instantly by the strike. Other
bodies lay mutilated and contorted, strewn across the grass.

There were 95 bodies in all, many of them black Africans.

Less than half were burned alive in the vehicles. Others appeared to have
been killed, some of them cut in two, by heavy calibre guns from either an
aircraft or from ground fire. Others appeared to have been killed by
fragmentation wounds, possibly from exploding rockets and ammunition in the

Government fighter Ahmed al-Masalati from Misrata said he was there. He said
Gaddafi's convoy escaped at 6:30 am and went around a roundabout and came
under fire from government forces.

"They were trapped in these positions," he said, pointing to the field. "At
8:15 a NATO jet came in, a Mirage. It shot at the group of 11 cars then made
another pass and shot at other group at the north end who were held up in
seven cars."

That account was confirmed by a Gaddafi prisoner on Friday, Jibril Abu
Shnaf, who was captured not far from the convoy.

"I was cooking for the other guys, when all of a sudden they came in and
said 'come on, we're leaving'. I got in a civilian car and joined the end of
the convoy. We tried to escape along the coast road. But we came under heavy
fire, so we tried another way," he told Reuters while in custody in the town
of Sirte.

When the air strike hit the convoy had already stopped "but I don't know
why, I was just following the others", he said. "Then the only thing I saw
was dead bodies all around, dust and debris. It went dark," Shnaf said.

"I saw this guy running," he said, gesturing towards another prisoner beside
him, "and I just followed him. I had no idea Muammar was with us until they
(his captors) told us."

Gaddafi himself escaped the carnage.

Mansour Daou, leader of Gaddafi's personal bodyguards, was with the ousted
leader shortly before he died. He told al Arabiya television that after the
air strike the survivors had "split into groups and each group went its own

Gaddafi and a handful of his men appeared to have made their way through a
stand of trees and taken refuge in the two drainage pipes under the highway.

But NTC fighters were hot on their tail.

"I was with Gaddafi and Abu Bakr Younis Jabr and about four volunteer
soldiers," Daou said, adding he had not witnessed his leader's death because
he had fallen unconscious after being wounded in the back by a shell


Government fighter Saleem Bakeer said he was among those who came across
Gaddafi hiding in the pipes, each about half a metre high.

Other NTC militiamen who also said they were present and, separately
interviewed in different locations, all named each other as also having been
at the scene and their stories matched closely. One man had what he said was
Gaddafi's gold-plated pistol.

"At first we fired at them with anti-aircraft guns, but it was no use," said
Bakeer, while being feted by his comrades near the road and the drainage
pipes. "Then we went in on foot.

"One of Gaddafi's men came out waving his rifle in the air and shouting
surrender, but as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me," he told

"Then I think Gaddafi must have told them to stop. 'My master is here, my
master is here', he said, 'Muammar Gaddafi is here and he is wounded'," said

"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," Bakeer

At the time of his capture, Gaddafi was already wounded with gunshots to his
leg and to his back, Bakeer said.

One of the others who said he took part in the capture of the man who ruled
Libya for 42 years said Gaddafi was shot and wounded at the last minute by
one of his own men.

"One of Muammar Gaddafi's guards shot him in the chest," said Omran Jouma

Another NTC official, speaking to Reuters anonymously, gave another account
of Gaddafi's violent death: "They (NTC fighters) beat him very harshly and
then they killed him. This is a war."

Where he was captured, fallen electricity cables partially covered the
entrance to the drainage pipes and the bodies of three men, apparently
Gaddafi bodyguards, lay there, one in shorts probably due to a bandaged
wound on his leg.

Four more bodies lay at the other end of the pipes. All black men, one had
his brains blown out, another man had been decapitated, his dreadlocked head
lying beside his torso.

Army chief Jabr was also captured alive, Bakeer said, but NTC officials
later announced he was also dead.

Joyous government fighters fired their weapons in the air, shouted "Allahu
Akbar" and posed for pictures. Others wrote graffiti on the concrete
parapets of the highway. One said simply: "Gaddafi was captured here."
(Additional reporting by Rania El Gamal in Misrata and Samia Nakhoul in
Amman; Writing by Jon Hemming)

C Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved


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