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Kadhafi, son buried at night in secret location

25 october 2011, 18:42
0
The corpses of Moamer Kadhafi (R) and his son Mutassem inside the cold storage room of a vegetable market in Misrata. ©AFP
The corpses of Moamer Kadhafi (R) and his son Mutassem inside the cold storage room of a vegetable market in Misrata. ©AFP
The body of Libyan ex-leader Moamer Kadhafi was buried overnight in a secret location after days of being put on display in a market freezer, AFP reports, citing a Misrata military council member Tuesday.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Kadhafi's remains were buried "overnight in a religious ceremony" along with the corpses of his son Mutassim and ex-defence minister Abu Bakr Yunis Jaber.

According to guards at the entrance to the market on the outskirts of Misrata, 215 kilometres (132 miles) east of Tripoli, a convoy of four or five military vehicles took away the bodies late Monday night to an unknown location.

Three religious leaders loyal to the ousted dictator prayed and performed a religious ceremony before the burial, the military council member said.

The father and two sons of the former defence minister were present when the bodies were picked up at the market, the source said.

The burials come amid raging controversy over the circumstances of Kadhafi's death after he was taken alive during the fall of his hometown Sirte last Thursday.

Libya's interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said a commission of inquiry is to probe the strongman's killing after foreign governments and rights group raised questions.

"In response to international calls, we have started to put in place a commission tasked with investigating the circumstances of Moamer Kadhafi's death in the clash with his circle as he was being captured," Abdel Jalil said on Monday.

The UN human rights office welcomed this announcement.

Disquiet has grown internationally over how Kadhafi met his end after National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters hauled him out of a culvert where he was hiding following NATO air strikes on the convoy in which he had been trying to flee his falling hometown.

Mobile phone videos show him still alive at that point.

The corpses of Kadhafi -- with a bullet wound to the head -- his son Mutassim, and decades-long confidant Abubakr Yunes had laid in a meat market freezer on the outskirts of the city of Misrata until Monday.

Libya's interim prime minister Mahmud Jibril said in Jordan on Sunday that an autopsy report showed Kadhafi was killed in "crossfire from both sides."

Since Friday, thousands of ordinary Libyans have viewed the bodies of the slain men, many taking pictures on their mobile phone.

Meanwhile a fuel tank exploded in Sirte late on Monday killing more than 100 people, NTC military commander Leith Mohammed said.

"There was an enormous explosion and a huge fire. More than 100 people were killed and 50 others wounded" Mohammed told AFP in Tripoli.

He said the scene was "a heart wrenching spectacle with dozens of charred bodies."

The accidental explosion happened as a crowd of people waited near the fuel tank to fill up their cars.

"We are still unable to put out the fire," said Mohammed, adding that it had been caused by a spark from a nearby electricity generator.

Some of the victims had returned to the town, the last bastion of resistance by Kadhafi loyalists, which fell on Thursday, to inspect the damage to their properties, the NTC commander added.

No building was spared in the weeks of fierce combat backed by daily NATO air strikes that reduced the Mediterranean city to rubble, a ghost town filled with the stench of death, where bodies still littered the streets on Monday.

Some of Sirte's residents, who numbered 120,000 before the conflict, have returned since Thursday to salvage the remains of their personal belongings.

But few are expected to stay.

Human Rights Watch has urged Libya's interim government to probe the killing of 53 people whose decaying bodies were found in Sirte, charging that some of the Kadhafi loyalists appeared to have been executed.

On Tuesday, the rights group raised concerns about the vast stockpiles of unguarded weapons in the area around the city, and called on the NTC to secure these sites to prevent further looting.

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