Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's all-powerful leader, spent his final weeks shuttling from hideout to hideout in his hometown of Sirte, alternating between rage and melancholy as his regime crumbled around him, said a Gaddafi aide now in custody.
Gaddafi, his son Mutassim and an entourage of two dozen loyalists were cut off from the world while on the run, living in abandoned homes without TV, phones or electricity, said Mansour Dao, a member of the Gaddafi clan and former chief of Libya's Revolutionary Guards.
Gaddafi would spend his time reading, jotting down notes or brewing tea on a coal stove, Dao said late Monday in a conference room of the revolutionary forces' headquarters in Misrata, his temporary jail cell. "He was not leading the battle," Dao said of Gaddafi. "His sons did that. He did not plan anything or think about any plan."
The uprising against Gaddafi erupted in February and quickly escalated into a civil war that formally ended Sunday, with a declaration of liberation by Libya's new leaders.
Dao said Gaddafi fled his residential compound in Tripoli around August 18 or 19. After the capital's fall Gaddafi headed directly to Sirte.
Gaddafi's aides repeatedly urged him to step aside and leave the country, but he refused, saying he wanted to die in the land of his ancestors, according to Dao. "I feel sorry for him because he underestimated the situation," Dao said."He could have left and gotten out of the country and lived a happy life," Dao said.