The Fall of Gaddafi

Civil war in Libya is over after nine long months of fighting. The last of the conflict occurred in the north-west parts of the city of Sirte – the final pocket of loyalist resistance after the liberation of Tripoli on the 15th August 2011.It has now become known that this remaining heavy resistance was because it was the last hiding place of Col Gaddafi. On Thursday 20th October at approximately 08:30 local time, his convoy of seventy-five vehicles tried to break out of the area but was hit by a NATO airstrike. Gaddafi and several of his loyal bodyguards managed to escape the strikes on foot and hide in drainage pipes. Not long after, they were found by rebel fighters.




Ambiguous reports began to circulate very quickly about Gaddafi’s capture by rebel forces and footage of a very bloody and disorientated former leader soon went global on major news and social networks. What happened next is still unclear and disputed by many but what we do know is that soon after being captured and shortly before arriving at hospital Gaddafi was announced dead. Mahmoud Jibril, the NTC (National Transitional Council) prime minister, confirmed that Col Gaddafi was dead, saying: “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time” he proceeded to tell journalists that the Col had died when the car he was in was hit by crossfire. This however has been disputed by some eyewitnesses who say that he had been shot by a rebel fighter. More videos soon surfaced online of the former leader’s final moments which appear to show him being beaten and abused by fighters.




There was a worldwide eruption when the news came out of the end of the Libyan dictator and civil war. In Libya there was a day of celebration and a declaration of freedom which saw large crowds in major cities turn out with flags chanting the resistance. In Manchester, home of the UK’s largest Libyan population, there were scenes of jubilation as a large crowd gathered and celebrated long into the night chanting “one, two, three, four, Gaddafi no more!”




An enquiry has been called by the UN into whether Gaddafi’s death should be accepted as a summary execution or not. This has been backed by UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond who said “An investigation into Col Gaddafi’s death should be held” however David Cameron’s official spokesman stated: “The account of precisely what happened is a matter for the NTC.” There have also been concerns about events surrounding Gaddafi’s death with Philip Hammond saying that the new Libyan government’s reputation has been “a little bit stained” by the methods of the killing and continuing to say “We would have liked to see Col Gaddafi going on trial to answer for his misdeeds.”But most importantly, the worldwide reaction has mainly been that of wanting to support Libya with re-building and pushing it towards free elections.




His death has not ended all divisions in the country but does draw to a close the bloody conflict which has claimed many lives. With arguments surrounding what to do with his remains lasting almost a week his final will was published online andGaddafi had expressed his wishes: “Should I be killed, I would like to be buried, according to Muslim rituals, in the clothes I was wearing at the time of my death and my body unwashed, in the cemetery of Sirte, next to my family and relatives.” These wishes were ignored with his body being buried in a secret location in the desert after being on display to the Libyan public for days in a meat storage facility.




Now with Gaddafi dead and buried, the NTC have one large obstacle out of their way but there are many questions facing the new regime. The rounding up of suspected mercenaries; the killing of around 50 loyalist fighters; and the most pressing issue of re building not just the Libyan country but after so many years (42 to be precise)of dictatorship the rebuilding the Libyan society.


Written by Katie Lee & Jacob Hewlett Case



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