TRIPOLI — Former Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddafi was buried in a secret location on Tuesday, officials of the
interim government said, ending a four-day spectacle in which his bloody body was displayed to a public celebrating his gory death as a fitting end to decades of repression.
Suliman Fortia, the representative of the city of Misurata on the national governing council, said in a telephone interview that Gaddafi’s body was put in an unmarked grave “somewhere in the desert” at dawn. Libyan officials have said they wanted to prevent his tomb from being desecrated or turned into a pilgrimage site.
Western officials and human rights groups are calling for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Gaddafi’ s death in hi
s home town of Sirte last Thursday. Cellphone footage has shown revolutionaries punching and kicking him, and a new video obtained by Global Post appeared to show one man trying to shove a knife between Gaddafi’s buttocks as he walked, clad in a blood-spattered beige shirt and trousers, between revolutionaries.
Gaddafi’s body, along with the bodies of his son Mutassim and former defense minister Abu Bakr Yunis Jabir, had been brought to Misurata by triumphant fighters from the city and placed in a frozen-food locker at a supermarket.
Thousands trooped by Gaddafi’s decomposing corpse in recent days, staring in wonder and loathing at the remains of the man who had ruled them for 42 years.
Mutassim Gaddafi and Jabir were also buried in the desert Tuesday. News services reported that members of Gaddafi’s tribe recited Islamic prayers over the bodies before they were buried.
Interim President Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Monday that he had requested an investigation of the circumstances surrounding Gaddafi’s death. But he continued to insist that Gaddafi suffered a fatal shot to the head in an exchange of fire between his supporters and revolutionaries after he was captured. There has been no confirmation of such a firefight, however.
A spokesman for the Transitional National Council, Jalal al-Gallal, acknowledged Tuesday that “there is no particular mechanism” for an investigation. It would be extraordinarily difficult for Libya’s weak central government to conduct an impartial probe, given the popularity enjoyed by revolutionaries who killed Gaddafi.
The Associated Press, quoting an official with the interim government, said international organizations that ask to see the burial site will be given access.
“I wish I killed him myself. But they took this wish away from me,” said Abdul Mufta Saleh Omemi, 45, who was in a massive crowd Sunday in Benghazi celebrating the end of the eight-month war to topple Gaddafi. “As a Muslim, I’m not supposed to kill. But he forced us to do it. I’m very, very happy.”