Members of the Libyan national transition council have announced the capture of ex-leader colonel Gaddafi after taking over his hometown of Sirte.
Although it is known that he has been captured, though there are conflicting reports about his current state. One report to Reuters claimed that Gaddafi had been captured and had been wounded on both legs. Another report claimed that he was captured but seriously injured and yet another claimed that he had been killed, with one agency obtaining a mobile phone apparently containing a picture of Gaddafi with blood on his face.
The news follows months of fighting between Gaddafi’s soldiers and anti-Gaddafi activists, culminating in the fall of Sirte, the hometown and last stronghold of Col Gaddafi, after a two month siege. The NTC, Libya’s interim Government, had been reporting progress in the siege of Sirte, over the last few weeks and today completed the takeover, capturing Gaddafi in the process.
The soldier who claimed to have captured Gaddafi said that he had been hiding in a hole and shouted “Don’t shoot” when he was discovered. However, an NTC official explained to Reuters that Gaddafi had been shot in the head whilst trying to flee. Several other NTC members claimed that Gaddafi had been killed during the fighting.
Car and ship horns are being sounded in celebration and many soldiers have been seen firing guns into the air and chanting “Allah akbar” (god is good).
Gaddafi’s rule was ended in August, after 42 years of rule and Col Gaddafi is wanted by the International Criminal Court. The Civil War that eventually caused his downfall and capture has been waging since February.
Since then there have been several sanctions against the Gaddafi family, who have scattered to various countries seeking refuge since his downfall. His harsh actions in cracking down on the rebels have been referred to the International Criminal Court, who are still seeking his arrest. Gaddafi is charged with ordering the murder of civilians.
It is hoped that Gaddafi’s capture will finally end the fighting that he urged on so stringently and allow the country to move onto the democratic processes and challenges that new democracy brings and the fighting has held back. They promised to do this after the fall of Sirte, which was said to have been built as a showpiece for Gaddafi’s rule.