October 21, 2011 / 9:11 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Gaddafi burial delayed until location set --official

(Adds disagreement, detail)

By Rania El Gamal

MISRATA, Libya, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The burial of Muammar Gaddafi has been delayed for a few days until Libya’s new rulers decide where to bury him, the oil minister said on Friday, but another transition government official said there was disagreement over what to do with his body.

“I told them to keep it in the freezer for a few days... to make sure that everybody knows he is dead,” Ali Tarhouni told Reuters. He said the body was in Misrata, which was a stronghold of the rebels who toppled Gaddafi throughout Libya’s civil war.

Asked about the burial arrangements, including where he would be buried, he said: “There is no decision yet.”

Another another NTC official who declined to named said there was a dispute within the National Transitional Council (NTC) over what to do with Gaddafi’s body.

“They are not agreeing on the place of burial. Under Islam he should have been buried quickly but they have to reach an agreement whether he is to be buried in Misrata, Sirte, or somewhere else,” he said.

The dispute could signal a rift between the NTC leadership and fighters on the ground who feel they should have a say in the decision on Gaddafi’s burial since they fought to oust the veteran leader and then hunt him down.

Gaddafi was captured alive in his hometown of Sirte on Thursday but then died later while in the hands of fighters in circumstances that are still not clear.

Tarhouni also said a decision on who would be prime minister of Libya’s interim government would be made “most likely next week”, adding that he was a contender.

He said the NTC had set a rough timetable of eight months for drafting a new constitution, then holding elections, but added: “I think it will be longer than eight months.” (Additional reporting by Samia Nakhoul; Writing by Andrew Hammond; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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