Secret burial at dawn for Muammar Gaddafi

 

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The Independent Online

Former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, his son Muatassim and a top aide were buried in an Islamic ceremony at dawn today in a secret location.

The funeral closed the book on Gaddafi's nearly 42-year rule and the eight-month civil war to remove him, but did not silence international calls for an investigation into whether he was executed by his captors.

The bodies of Gaddafi, Muatassim and former Defence Minster Abu Bakr Younis were removed overnight from the commercial freezer in Misrata where they had been on display for four days.

A spokesman for the military council in Misrata said Islamic prayers were read over the bodies and that relatives attended the funeral.

On Monday, the council said the three would be buried in unmarked graves to prevent vandalism and to prevent it from turning into a shrine for Gaddafi loyalists.

The three bodies had been held in cold storage in Misrata since the dictator and members of his entourage were captured near his hometown of Sirte on Thursday after their convoy came under attack by Nato. For days, Misratans had lined up to see the bodies, donning surgical masks to cover the stench from the bodies.

Over the weekend, Libya's chief pathologist, Dr Othman el-Zentani, performed autopsies on the three bodies and also took DNA samples to confirm their identities.

Gaddafi and Muatassim were captured alive, with some injuries, but died in unclear circumstances later that day.

Responding to mounting international pressure, Libya's interim leaders have promised an investigation to establish whether Gaddafi was executed or whether he died in the crossfire as government officials have suggested. Video footage showed him being beaten and abused by a mob after his capture.

Meanwhile an explosion rocked a fuel depot near Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte.

The blast is being treated as an accident.

AP

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