Libyan forces 'capture Gaddafi'

 

The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse in Sirte: "I saw one man with very blood-stained clothes saying that he was the person (who killed Col Gaddafi)"

Commanders for Libya's transitional authorities say they have captured ousted leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.

Unconfirmed reports say Col Gaddafi has been killed, and AFP obtained a mobile-phone image apparently showing his face covered in blood.

The reports came after transitional forces claimed control of Sirte, Col Gaddafi's birthplace.

The colonel was toppled in August after 42 years in power. The International Criminal Court is seeking his arrest.

Nato, which has been running a bombing campaign in Libya for months, said it carried out an air strike earlier on Thursday that hit two pro-Gaddafi vehicles near Sirte.

The head of the National Transitional Council (NTC) Mustafa Abdul Jalil is expected to give a national TV address soon.

Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam says fighters on the ground have told him that Col Gaddafi is dead.

'Don't shoot!'

Earlier, another NTC official told Reuters news agency: "He's captured. He's wounded in both legs."

At the scene

If the reports of Col Gaddafi's capture are true, then Mohammed al-Bibi is the man of the moment. Brandishing a golden pistol which he said belonged to Colonel Gaddafi he was hoisted up onto the shoulders of his comrades.

"Allah akbar" (God is great), they chanted as they unleashed volleys into the air. Mohammed, a fighter in his 20s, wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap, said he had found the colonel hiding in a hole in the ground. He told the BBC that the former Libyan leader said to him simply: "Don't shoot".

Rebel fighters say the colonel has been taken by ambulance to Misrata. If this is the case and the rest of Sirte has indeed fallen then it will mark a turning point for Libyan revolution - the point at which it will be hoped, the fighting ends and the political process begins.

"He's been taken away by ambulance."

AFP news agency quoted another NTC official, Mohamed Leith, as saying that Col Gaddafi had been captured in Sirte and was "seriously wounded" but still breathing.

A soldier who says he captured Muammar Gaddafi told the BBC the colonel had shouted: "Don't shoot!"

But NTC official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters news agency that the former leader had been shot in the head and killed as he tried to flee.

Reuters also quoted another NTC commander, Abdul Hakim al-Jalil, as saying that Col Gaddafi's spokesman Moussa Ibrahim had been captured and the head of his armed forces, Abu Bakr Younus Jabr, had been killed.

None of the reports has been independently verified.

The BBC's Caroline Hawley in Tripoli says ships and cars have been sounding their horns in the capital and guns are being fired in celebration.

Earlier, NTC commanders in Sirte - about 360km (220 miles) east of Tripoli - said the city had been liberated.

Mobile phone image alleged to be of Muammar Gaddafi - 20/10/11 An image from a mobile phone apparently showing Col Muammar Gaddafi wounded

"There are no Gaddafi forces any more," Col Yunus al-Abdali told Reuters. "We are now chasing his fighters who are trying to run away."

There was no confirmation from the NTC leadership.

But fighters in Sirte celebrated by firing in the air, and chanting "Allah akbar" ("God is great").

Interim government forces had been facing heavy resistance from snipers in the city, and used heavy artillery during its offensive. Thousands of civilians have fled.

The NTC has also suffered heavy casualties in the town of Bani Walid, south-east of Tripoli, in recent weeks.

On Monday the NTC said it had captured 90% of the town, including the centre.

 

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Libya after Gaddafi

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 164.

    This is a sad day! The libyans i have spoken to said he had a large amount of support amongst the people! We went in the prevent a masacre in Bengazi yet ignored the NTCs subsequent atrocities! Women had rights, education and healthcare were free! The HDI index was very high. The uncertainty of this new gov is worse. Real reason was oil close to EU + threat of Gold Dinar to dollar hegemony!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 152.

    I think the real victory is not that he is captured or dead but that Libya can can strive to become an equal society that is generous to the poor/disadvantaged and the genders. I think the country has a real chance at becoming a shining beacon of hope in the middle east and an example to all other dictators that their days are certainly numbered.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 149.

    If Col.Gaddafi has been captured i just hope that the fighting ends and the Libyan people find peace, stability and prosperity unlike the mess that Iraq appears to be since Saddam Hussein was captured under similar circumstances.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 79.

    Gaddafi has been the face of Libya for decades, now that Gaddafi is gone, i hope the new face of Libya will reflect not just the face of the new leader, but the face of the people on the streets struggling to feed their family and working hard for their communities, regardless of which religion, ethnic or educational affiliate they belong

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 66.

    This reminds me of Saddam. Massive leaders in their time, you'd think they would have sufficient contacts to easily flee into bordering countries.

    Yet on both occasions these men are found all alone, hiding in holes. Just proves how loyal these peoples so called 'aides' really are.

 

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