They came in pickups with guns. They left with photo albums and Muammar Gaddafi's hat. After the rebels' final assault on the dictator's heavily fortified compound, the spoils of war were laid out last night, giving a small insight into the gilded world of the regime that had been off-limits to ordinary Libyans for 42 years.
With the prime target proving elusive, the vestiges of Colonel Gaddafi's office were snatched – and images of the leader smashed, broken and burned. One rebel, with a heavy gold chain around his neck, told of how he broke into Colonel Gaddafi's bedroom. "It wasn't hard," he told Sky News. "I went to Gaddafi's bedroom and I was, like, 'Oh my God'. Then I found this. Oh my goodness!"
Another rebel emerged with a photographic album, its ownership unknown, which contained pictures of the former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
A golf buggy that Colonel Gaddafi often used was also seized and paraded around the compound.
Of more practical use – as fighting continued yesterday in and around the compound – new sniper rifles were taken by the armful after an armoury was broken into. Boxes of ammunition were also taken.
A grainy video appeared on YouTube yesterday which appeared to show the passport of Mohammed Gaddafi. It was not clear where the passport came from or who held it. The dictator's son was arrested earlier this week while he was giving an interview live on television, although to the embarrassment of the rebels he appears to have escaped from house arrest. His whereabouts are currently unknown.