Bodies of 53 'executed' Gaddafi loyalists discovered

Corpses dumped in hotel garden in Sirte lead to calls for inquiry into human rights abuses

Misrata

The dead had been dumped on the "Sea-View Gardens" of an abandoned hotel. Many of the killings had been carried out with shots to the head; some were already injured when the executions took place; some had their hands tied behind their backs. Amid bullet and bomb casings, pools of water from burst pipes provided grim testimony to the revenge meted out on the last of the regime loyalists.

While international focus has been on the killings of Muammar Gaddafi and his son Muatassim and the display of their corpses, little is known about the fate of those who were with the Libyan dictator in his last refuge, his home town of Sirte. The discovery of the 53 corpses at the Mahari hotel, and another ten dumped in a nearby reservoir reveal a glimpse of the bloodletting.

It has not been possible to ascertain who was responsible for the dead in the reservoir. But the hotel had been in the hands of the rebels, by then the forces of the new government, when the slaughter was believed to have been carried out between 14 and 19 October.

Pools of blood had stained the ground beneath the bodies, spent cartridges lay scattered around suggesting a firing squad had been at work.

Yesterday, Mustafa Abdul Jali, the acting head of the country's government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), bowed to rising pressure from abroad and ordered an inquiry into the shootings of Muammar and Muatassim Gaddafi after they had surrendered. Authorities in Misrata, where their remains have been exhibited for the past four days, announced yesterday that the morbid show was finally over.

Human Rights Watch, which discovered the evidence of the hotel massacre in Sirte, yesterday called for a wider investigation. Director Peter Bouckaert, said: "What happened was pretty bad. If the NTC fails to look thoroughly into this crime it will signal that those who fought against Gaddafi can do anything without fear of prosecution. There is evidence to suggest that some of those shot were prisoners."

The NTC was able to force Gaddafi from power, largely with the help of foreign forces, including Britain. A Foreign Office spokeswoman said last night of the Mahari killings: "We condemn human rights violations perpetrated by either side and we expect the NTC to fully investigate all allegations of abuse committed by its forces, and to bring those responsible to account."

The rebels who had been in the Mahari wanted to be remembered. At the entrance, in the flaking rooms and on the outside walls were written the names of the Tiger Brigade (al-Nimar) Support Brigade (al-Isnad), the Jaguar Brigade (al-Fahad), the Lion Brigade (al-Asad), and the Citadel Brigade (al-Qasba). It is not known if fighters from these groups were present when the killings took place.

Sirte, built up as a model city by the Gaddafi regime, and proclaimed as a future capital of Africa by the delusional former leader, had been pulverised during the assault by opposition forces. Street after street had been smashed and most of the population had fled during the brief lulls in the fighting. Many bitterly complained that they were not being liberated, but facing punishment for the city's links to the dictator.

Residents among the small number left had ventured out after the gunfire ended to find out what happened to family, friends and the Mahari casualties. Among the decomposing corpses they could identify four from the neighbourhood – Ezzidin al-Hinsheri, a former Gaddafi government official, a military officer named Muftah Dabroun, and two others, Amar Mahmoud Saleh and Muftah al-Deley, whose political allegiances were not known.

Sirte is now a desolate place, with small communities scattered across the city. The homes which have not been destroyed have been looted, according to local people, by rebel fighters.

Residents fear criticism of what has taken place will lead to accusations of being regime collaborators. Amar al-Bawadi, 46, who sent his family away but stayed behind – unsuccessfully – to protect his clothes shop, said: "This is just the beginning, there will be lots of dead bodies found. They just opened fire without any care who got hit. Now we are seeing what happened to those who were arrested. What would people in Europe and America say if Gaddafi was doing this?"

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before