Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Gaddafi to get traditional burial

Libya's new leaders have promised Muammar Gaddafi will be buried later according to Islamic norms, a day after his dramatic final hours when the fugitive dictator was dragged from hiding in a drainage pipe, begging for his life as his hometown and last bastion fell to the revolutionaries.

The death, two months after Gaddafi's ousting, finished off the nearly 42-year regime that had turned the oil-rich country into an international pariah and his own personal fiefdom. It also thrusts Libya into a new age in which its transitional leaders must overcome deep divisions and rebuild nearly all its institutions from scratch to achieve dreams of democracy.

The governing National Transitional Council said interim leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil will formally declare liberation on Saturday in the eastern city of Benghazi, where the revolution began in mid-February. The NTC has always said it will form a new interim government within a month of liberation and will hold elections within eight months.

Acting prime minister Mahmoud Jibril, who confirmed Gaddafi's death on Thursday, said he will step down to make way for others to guide the oil-rich North African nation toward democracy.

"The forming of the new government is subject to the NTC and I myself will not be part of that new government," Jibril said at a news conference in Tripoli. "I would like to call on Libyans to put aside the grudges and only say one word, which is Libya, Libya, Libya."

Other leaders have fallen in the Arab Spring uprisings, but the 69-year-old Gaddafi is the first to be killed. He was shot in his hometown of Sirte, where revolutionary fighters overwhelmed the last of his loyalist supporters on Thursday after weeks of heavy battles.

President Barack Obama told the Libyan people: "You have won your revolution."

Also killed in Sirte was one of Gaddafi's feared sons, Muatassim, while another son - one-time heir apparent Seif al-Islam - was wounded and captured.

There were conflicting accounts about how Gaddafi was killed. Eager to show they were taking the moral high ground, Libya officials promised he would be buried with respect.

"He will be buried Friday according to Islamic custom," Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said. NTC member Mohamed Sayeh said that would happen in a Sirte cemetery, denying reports of a secret grave.


From Belfast Telegraph