Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Colonel Muammar Qaddafi was holed up with his loyalist guards in one of the few standing buildings in Sirte Thursday when he decided to make a run for it.The city had been under siege for months and rebel forces had whittled down Qaddafi’s fighters to just a handful of men.
Piling into a 75 vehicle convoy, Reuters reports the Colonel and about 100 men were speeding south when they were spotted by NATO forces.
Predator drones with Hellfire missiles backed up by French Mirage fighter jets caught up with the column and destroyed 11 vehicles. The strike was so intense charred bodies sat in the seats of the vehicles while dozens of corpses lay sprawled throughout the area when reporters arrived.
Qaddafi was nowhere to be seen when rebel forces finally made it to the site. The only man alive came through some trees waving his weapon in the air screaming to surrender.
The rebels say that as soon as the man got close enough he opened fire, stopping only when Qaddafi ordered him to cease.
It was then the man told them ‘My master is here, my master is here. Muammar Qaddafi is here and he is wounded.“
A rattled and hurt Qaddafi had made his way through a grove of trees and found a sewer pipe in which to hide.
There is some uncertainty about his injuries. One report says he had been shot in the legs and back, before rebels arrived. Another says that it was one of Qaddafi’s own men who shot him at the last minute.
Regardless, he is clearly alive in the video that surfaced following his capture and he died probably from a combination of his wounds and the beatings inflicted by his captors.
Rebel fighters continue to celebrate and the concrete drainage pipes under the six-lane highway where Qaddafi made his last stand are being memorialised with graffiti.
“This is the place of Qaddafi the rat,” one says. Another; “Qaddafi was captured here.”
The rebels seem to have found joy in the fact that Qaddafi was reduced to this in the end. Hiding in sewage and fear, when the past finally caught up with him.
“He called us rats,” Ahmed Al Sahati told Reuters, “but look where we found him.”
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