Clues to Gaddafi's death concealed from public view

Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:20pm GMT
 

By Rania El Gamal

MISRATA, Libya (Reuters) - Libyan forces guarding Muammar Gaddafi's body in a cold storage room on Saturday let in members of the public to view the deposed leader for a second day, but the wounds that may hold the clue to how he died were covered up.

Gaddafi's body lay on a mattress on the floor of the cold room, as it did on Friday when hundreds of members of the public filed in to see for themselves that the man who ruled Libya for 42 years was really dead.

But unlike the previous day, Gaddafi's body was covered by a blanket that left only his head exposed, hiding the bruises on his torso and scratch marks on his chest that had earlier been visible.

And, crucially, a Reuters reporter who viewed the body said, Gaddafi's head had been turned to the left. That meant a bullet hole that earlier could be seen on the left side of his face, just in front of his ear, could no longer be seen.

Guards overseeing Gaddafi's body handed out green surgical masks to dozens of people filing in to take a look because of the stench of rotting flesh filling the room.

The bullet hole in Gaddafi's head, and the other wounds, could help solve the riddle of whether, as Libya's new rulers said, he was shot in crossfire in a battle or, as some accounts suggest, he was killed by the fighters who caught him.

A local military commander in the city of Misrata, where the force which captured him took his body, said "over-enthusiastic" fighters took matters into their own hands when they came face to face with the man they despise.

"We wanted to keep him alive but the young guys, things went out of control," he said speaking on condition of anonymity.   Continued...

This still image taken from amateur video posted on a social media website and obtained by Reuters, October 21, 2011, shows former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, covered in blood, after his capture by NTC fighters in Sirte. Gaddafi will be buried according to Muslim rites within 24 hours, a Libyan transitional government force commander said on Friday, and witnesses said the body bore a visible bullet hole in the head. Gaddafi was captured alive in his hometown of Sirte on Thursday but died later while in the hands of fighters in circumstances that are still not clear.  REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV (LIBYA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
 
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