File:Bloody Vengeance in Sirte.pdf
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Death of a Dictator - Bloody vengeance in Sirte
IV. The Capture and Death of Muammar Gaddafi
Following the grenade explosion, groups of militia fighters immediately descended from the main road and captured the badly bleeding Muammar Gaddafi. The presence of Muammar Gaddafi in the fleeing convoy surprised the militia fighters, who, like most people in Sirte at the time, including a Human Rights Watch team, had no inkling that he had been present in Sirte until the moment of his capture.
Raw, unedited cell phone footage obtained by Human Rights Watch documents the three minutes and 38 seconds following Muammar Gaddafi’s capture. As soon as the militia fighters had custody of Gaddafi, they began abusing him. Blood was already gushing from the shrapnel wound in his head. As he was being led onto the main road, a militiaman stabbed him in his anus with what appears to have been a bayonet, causing another rapidly bleeding wound. Misrata militia fighters surrounded Gaddafi, punching and beating him, and yelling “Allahu Akbar!” and “Misrata!” over and over again. In an interview with Human Rights Watch, Khalid Ahmed Raid, the commander of the Eastern Coast militia brigade of Misrata, which was based near the scene of the battle and capture, acknowledged that the situation with Muammar Gaddafi was out of control:
One of the groups of rebels was sweeping the area when they found Gaddafi, who was accompanied by about 15 fighters. One person from their group came out and asked for help, saying they had some wounded persons. Abu Bakr Younis Mansour Dhao, and Abd al-Nabi Dhao were with Gaddafi. Abu Bakr Younis was dying. Mansour Dhao survived, he was brought to our base alive, he walked on his own when he was brought here...
When we captured Gaddafi, the situation was a mess. There were very many fighters around. He was alive when I saw him, so he must have been shot later, not when we saw him here. But it was a violent scene, he was put on the front of a pickup truck that tried to drive him away, and he fell off. It was very confusing. People were pulling on his hair and hitting him. We understood there needed to be a trial, but we couldn’t control everyone, some acted beyond our control.
The militiamen ultimately put Muammar Gaddafi into an ambulance, and drove him away from the scene to Misrata in a massive convoy. Phone video footage obtained by Human Rights Watch taken at the scene of his capture appears to show Muammar Gaddafi’s nearly naked and apparently lifeless body being loaded into an ambulance, suggesting that he may have been dead by the time he left the area of his capture.43 By the time Muammar Gaddafi arrived in Misrata, a trip of at least two hours, he was almost certainly dead, and images of his body began circulating. There, his body was displayed to the public. The exact circumstances of his death remain unclear: some militia fighters from Benghazi claim to have shot Gaddafi dead during a dispute with Misrata fighters about where to take him, but their claims remain unconfirmed.44 The bodies of Muammar Gaddafi, Mutassim Gaddafi, and Abu Bakr Younis were ultimately buried in a secret, unmarked desert location, to prevent their burial place from becoming a rallying point for his former loyalists.
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