Muammar Gaddafi and his son Mo'tassim were buried in a secret desert location on Tuesday, five days after the deposed Libyan leader was captured, killed and put on grisly public display.
The saga has made Western allies of Libya's interim leadership queasy about the prospects for the rule of law and stable government in the post-Gaddafi era. He (Gaddafi) has just been buried now in the desert along with his son, National Transitional Council (NTC) commander Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters by telephone.
Gaddafi's cleric, Khaled Tantoush, who was captured with him, prayed over the rotting bodies before they were taken from the compound in the coastal city of Misrata, where they had been on show, and handed to two NTC loyalists for burial, he said.
The NTC had disquieted many outsiders by displaying the corpses in a meat locker in the fiercely anti-Gaddafi city of Misrata until their decay forced them on Monday to call a halt. Under pressure from Western allies, the NTC promised the same day to investigate how Gaddafi and his son were killed. Mobile phone footage shows both alive after their capture. The former Libyan leader was seen being mocked, beaten and abused before he was shot, in what NTC officials say was crossfire.
I laughed when I saw him being beaten as he deserved to be. And I laugh again now that I know he is in the ground, said Emani Zaid, 20, a student in Tripoli. If the men who buried him are true free Libyans, they can keep the secret (of his grave).
Determined to prevent Gaddafi's grave from becoming a shrine for his supporters, the NTC wants to keep its location secret, refusing custody to his tribe, many of whom live in Sirte. The prayers for the dead were attended by two of Gaddafi's cousins, Mansour Dhao Ibrahim, once leader of the feared People's Guard, and Ahmed Ibrahim. Both were captured with him after a NATO air strike hit a convoy of vehicles trying to break out of Sirte, the ousted leader's home town, just after it fell.
The NTC officials were handed the body after the sheikh completed the early morning ceremony and are taking him somewhere very far away into the desert, Mlegta said.