Thursday 19 April 2018

Fighters taunted 'master' before he was shot

Gordon Rayner in London

New footage of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's final moments shows that rebels argued over whether to kill him as he tried to persuade them to spare his life.

Moments after he was pulled out of a drain where he had been hiding, fighters shouted, "You dog! You dog!" as others tried to stop them lynching him, saying: "Don't kill him, we need him alive."

Fresh witness accounts of Gaddafi's capture suggested he tried to reason with the rebels, demanding his legal rights to fair treatment and asking them: "Do you know right from wrong?"

It emerged yesterday that NATO did not know Gaddafi was in one of a convoy of vehicles attacked from the air as it tried to break out of Sirte on Thursday.

After Gaddafi and his entourage ran for cover in two storm drains under a road, rebels tried to fire on them using anti-aircraft guns before moving in on foot.

Salem Bakeer, one of the fighters, said: "One of Gaddafi's men came out waving his rifle in the air and shouting 'Surrender,' but as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me.

"Then I think Gaddafi must have told them to stop. He said: 'My master is here. Muammar Gaddafi is here and he is wounded.'

"We brought Gaddafi out. He was saying, 'What's wrong? What's going on?'"

An unnamed rebel who claimed to have been the first to lay hands on Gaddafi said: "When we entered the hole we saw his bushy head and I jumped on him first. The guys I was with came in and surrounded him.

"He had his golden pistol on him and this gun [a revolver] in another bag."

At least four mobile phone videos have now emerged on the internet showing what happened next. In one film, rebels are seen walking a dazed Gaddafi, bleeding from a head wound but not mortally injured, down a slope from the drain, some hitting him as they go.

As arguments rage over whether to kill him, Gaddafi reportedly said: "What did I do to you?"

Another newly published video shows the despot being hauled onto the bonnet of a Toyota 4x4, his shirt bloodstained from the wound on his head. At one point he puts his left hand up to his head wound, then looks at his bloody fingers with a confused expression.

Further footage shows him being put back on his feet, clearly disorientated as he is jostled and mocked by the rebels.

A final video shows him being rolled round on the ground as rebels pull off his shirt, though it is unclear whether he is alive or dead.

Later pictures of his body show he was shot in the abdomen, chest and head.

Meanwhile last night, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said that he regretted the death of Gaddafi -- who supplied explosives and weapons to the IRA.

He condemned the mobile phone footage showing Gaddafi captured and alive but wounded, and then subsequently dead, as horrifying.

"I regret any death, particularly a violent death," he said.

Mr Adams said it was a matter of historical record that the IRA had got support from Libya.

"The IRA have gone and now Colonel Gaddafi is gone.

"We've a new dispensation here and hopefully we'll have a new dispensation in Libya," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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