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On Anniversary of his Death, Gaddafi’s Secret Burial Site Continues to Spark Debate

On Anniversary of his Death, Gaddafi’s Secret Burial Site Continues to Spark Debate

Friday, 21 October, 2022 - 07:00
Late Libyan leader Moammar al-Gaddafi. (Reuters)

The anniversary of the killing of Libyan leader Moammar al-Gaddafi has stirred debate about the location of his “secret” burial.

The longtime ruler and his son Mutassim Billah were killed on October 20, 2011 shortly after the fall of the central city of Sirte in the hands of the “February revolutionaries”.

Gaddafi’s 42-year rule remains a heated topic in Libya that has been engulfed in turmoil since the 2011 revolt that led to his killing. The current upheaval has led to a form of yearning to Gaddafi’s rule, from his supporters and critics alike, even though he is remembered as a “dictator”. The people often blame the NATO-backed uprising for ruining their country and destroying its infrastructure.

A senior member of the Gaddafa tribe told Asharq Al-Awsat that Libya is embroiled in a deep struggle for power.

“Everyone is seeking their interest, not that of the people,” he added.

“These are the same powers that in the past accused Gaddafi of hoarding power and seeking to pass it on to his sons,” he remarked.

Eleven years since his death, Libyans, especially residents of the South continue to express sorrow over his passing. Many have demanded that the location of his burial be uncovered, while others said it was best that it remained concealed to avoid “strife between his opponents and supporters.”

After Gaddafi and his son were killed, locals from the western city of Misrata transferred their corpses to the city before burying them in an undisclosed location. Since then, supporters of the former regime have been demanding that the site be revealed, but to no avail.

Dr. Mustafa Fetouri, a Libyan academic and journalist, said Gaddafi’s ouster nearly turned Libya into a failed state if it weren’t for its oil wealth.

His death left a bitter taste among the people, he added to Asharq Al-Awsat, describing Gaddafi’s death as a “major catastrophe that still looms large over the country and its people.”

“The greatest crime is the failure to reveal his burial site because those who assassinated and buried him are aware of the extent of his popularity. They have kept the location secret so that it does not turn to a shrine for Libyans and others,” he noted.

Fetouri added that “history will do justice to Gaddafi, just as many Libyans now do when they yearn for his rule when their country was secure and respected.”

“The Libyans long for him given their ongoing suffering these days,” he stated, noting that the people were better off before 2011, while now, many have been plunged in poverty and are now at the mercy of militias.

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