OCT, 26, 2011- MISRATA, Libya — After days of Public display, and much of controversy, Libya’s interim government official finally buried the deposed and murdered former President Muammar Gaddafi in a secret Location.
A Misrata military council official says Moammar Gadhafi, his son Muatassim and a top aide have been buried in a secret location, with a few relatives and officials in attendance.
In a text message read to The Associated Press, spokesman Ibrahim Beitalmal is quoted as saying the burial took place at 5 a.m. (12 a.m. EDT) Tuesday, and that Islamic prayers were read over the bodies. The information could not be independently verified.
Al-Jazeera earlier reported that the Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) buried Gaddafi at an unknown location at dawn, citing a source in the council. NBC News confirmed through council sources that the bodies had been taken out of storage overnight and were no longer in Misrata.
The three bodies had been held in cold storage in Misrata since Gaddafi was captured near his hometown of Sirte on Thursday. Gaddafi died in unclear circumstances within hours of his capture, and Libya’s new leaders have promised an investigation.
Beitalmal has said the burial site would remain secret to prevent vandalism.
NTC officials said earlier that the ousted Libyan leader would be buried in a secret desert grave, ending a wrangle over his rotting corpse that led many to fear for the country’s govern-ability.
Transitional government forces had put the body on show in a cold store in Misrata while they argued over what to do with it.
The country’s interim rulers ended the public display of the bodies of Gaddafi, his son and army chief on Monday after four days in which thousands of Libyans came to see for themselves that the dictator was really dead.
Guards locked the gates to the compound surrounding the cold storage container where the grim parody of the lying in state typically accorded to deceased leaders had been played out.
“That’s enough,” said one of the guards. “He’s been causing us as much trouble dead as he did alive.”
Gaddafi and his son died after being captured, wounded but alive — some of their final moments captured on video.
‘An example to the others’
But few Libyans are troubled about either how they were killed or why they were exposed to public view for so long. Islamic tradition dictates burial within a day.
“God made the pharaoh as an example to the others,” said Salem Shaka, visiting the bodies earlier on Monday. “If he had been a good man, we would have buried him.
“But he chose this destiny for himself.”
Another man, who said he had driven 250 miles to see the bodies, said: “I came here to make sure with my own eyes. All Libyans must see him.”
Meanwhile, NTC leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil is facing mounting international pressure to investigate the circumstances of Gadhafi’s death.
Abdul-Jalil ordered an inquiry to establish whether the deposed Libyan leader was killed in an execution-style slaying after being captured alive Thursday by fighters in his hometown of Sirte or whether he died in the crossfire as government officials have suggested.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland reiterated U.S. support for a full investigation but said “it’s now time for Libya to move on.” She endorsed the NTC’s proposed timeline for next steps in the democratic transition, and said Libyans “with no blood on their hands” must be ensured “a place in the new Libya, and that they are safe and they are included.”
She also called a Human Rights Watch report that dozens of Gadhafi supporters were found dead with bullet wounds in the back of the head and their hands tied, “extremely disturbing.” She said U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz raised Washington’s concerns with the council and asked them to conduct another investigation.
Late Monday, an APTN crew saw vehicles driving away from the refrigerator, and Associated Press reporters saw that it was empty. A military commander said the bodies were handed over to authorities for burial.
A steady stream of visitors filed in to view the spectacle on Monday before the closure, but far fewer than on previous days when crowds flocked to the container where the three rotting bodies were laid out on filthy mattresses.
There were still a handful disappointed however. “Can I just bring my son in?” one old man pleaded. “No, we’re closed,” the guard replied angrily.
Later, fresh guards came on duty and allowed about 100 people to see the bodies then shut the gates once again.
Fighters guarding Gadhafi’s darkening body and that of his son Muatassim and his former army chief had placed plastic sheeting under them as fluids leaked into the market cold store in Misrata where they had been taken after their capture and killing near Gadhafi’s home town of Sirte on Thursday.
With the door constantly opening to allow a procession of onlookers, the refrigeration unit failed to stop rapid decomposition. Guards handed out surgical face masks against the stench and had sprayed disinfectant over the corpses overnight.
Source: The Associated Press and Reuters report.