A day after images of a bloodied and defeated Muammar Gaddafi — dragged out of a drain in his hometown and final hideout of Sirte — took the world by storm, the buzz that he was captured alive and then executed grew louder.
As the slain former Libyan dictator lay in a shopping centre meat locker waiting for burial on Friday, a video surfaced, filmed by a bystander and showing a wounded Gaddafi being heaved off the bonnet of a pick-up, dragged towards a car, then pulled to the ground by his hair. In the background rang shouts of “keep him alive, keep him alive!”, then screaming and finally, gunshots as he went out of view.
“They captured him alive and while he was being taken away, beat him and killed him,” a senior National Transitional Council (NTC) source told Reuters. “He might have been resisting.”
Ibrahim Tika, the doctor who examined the 69-year-old’s body, said, “Gaddafi was arrested while alive and killed later. There was a bullet and that was the primary cause of death, it penetrated his gut. There was another bullet in the head that went in and out.”
Earlier, Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, reading what he said was a post-mortem report, said Gaddafi was hauled unresisting from a “sewage pipe”, shot in the arm and put in a truck, which was “caught in crossfire”.
Another version came from a small group of fighters from Misurata, who said they chanced upon the remains of a convoy hit by a Nato airstrike, on their way to join the assault on Sirte.
"We hit them with heavy weapons. We had no idea Gaddafi was there," said Munir Senussi, a 21-year-old fighter. "When he saw us, he said, 'What's happening?'," said Omran Shaaban, 21, adding that he and a friend were the first men in their unit to find the colonel. Shaaban said he and the other fighters jumped on Gaddafi, but insisted his mortal wounds were already visible.
Yet another version was that Gaddafi was shot in the chest by one of his own guards. “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. “There are four to five versions of how he died.
There should be some kind of investigation,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman to UN human rights chief Navi Pillay. A Syria-based TV station reported that his wife had asked for a UN investigation. An international commission of inquiry, launched by the UN Human Rights Council, is investigating killings, torture and other crimes in Libya. Colville said he expected the team would look into the circumstances of Gaddafi death.