The Libyan National Transition Council (NTC) has confirmed the death of Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.
The NTC told several news sources, including Reuters and Al Jazeera, that Gaddafi had died of wounds sustained during his capture near his hometown of Sirte, which has been besieged by the rebels for several months, and his body taken to a secure location.
Pictures that appeared to be of the bloodied body of the former dictator were initially published on Al Jazeera. His death was subsequently confirmed by the leaders of several countries, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
NTC official Abdel Majid Mlegta told news agency Reuters that the NATO warplanes had attacked the convoy in which Gaddafi was attempting to flee.
An NTC fighter in Sirte meanwhile told Reuters that he had seen Gaddafi shot after he was cornered and captured in a tunnel near a roadway.
“He (Gaddafi) was also hit in his head,” Mlegta told Reuters. “There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.”
Gaddafi’s spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim was captured by the NTC near Sirte, while the chief of Gaddafi’s armed forces, Abu Bakr Younus Jabr, was reported killed in the fighting.
Following the announcement of Gaddafi’s death by the NTC, celebrations broke out in the capital city of Tripoli and the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
Colonel Gaddafi was only 27 when he took control of Libya after a military coup in 1969. His 42 years of power brought wealth to Libya, but his reign was also characterised by erratic policies and terrifying punishments, based on a political platform of socialism and Arab nationalism condensed in his ‘Little Green Book’.
Minivan News obtained a copy of Gaddafi’s ‘Little Green Book’, entitled “The Solution of the Problem of Democracy”, copies of which were reportedly gifted to a generation of Maldivian school students under former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
At the time of his death, Gadaffi was wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for a systematic campaign of violence to try and put down a popular uprising, which led to Western military intervention.
Diplomatically, the Maldives was meanwhile among the first countries to formally recognise the NTC rebels as the sovereign representatives of the Libyan people, and helped organise several UN Human Rights Council resolutions that increased pressure on Gaddafi and legitimised Western military intervention.
“The Maldives took these steps because of our conviction that men such as Muammar Gadaffi should not be allowed to check, through violence, the recent march of democracy and human rights across the Muslim world – the Muslim Awakening,” said Maldives Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem in August.
“For decades, the government of Muammar Gadaffi has ruled through a system of patronage, repression and fear. The Muslim Awakening brought hope that this system could be dismantled peacefully, through dialogue, reform and free and fair elections. However, instead Muammar Gadaffi chose to use his security forces to attack and kill civilians.
“With the imminent fall of Gadaffi, the Muslim Awakening lives on, and the Maldives looks forward to welcoming a new, democratic Libyan State into the international family of nations,” Naseem said.