Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Muammar Qaddafi died from injuries sustained during clashes between soldiers loyal to the Libyan dictator and rebels about to capture him, the country’s envoy to the United Nations told the Security Council today.
Ibrahim Dabbashi, who became the voice of the National Transitional Council at the UN after defecting from the Qaddafi regime in February, said that when Qaddafi was arrested he “was bleeding from his abdomen and head” and died before getting to the hospital in Misrata.
The bodies of Qaddafi and his son Mutassim, who died after being wounded in his neck on Oct. 20, were stored in a meat locker in Misrata for several days while NTC officials decided where to bury them. Libyans were invited to line up to view the corpses. The two men were buried in a secret location in the Sahara yesterday, without the involvement of their Qaddafa tribe.
Following increasing pressure from international groups, including the UN, the NTC has formed a committee to investigate what happened. Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of Libya’s ruling council, initially said that Qaddafi had died in a “crossfire” and later said that he may have been killed by loyalists at the scene to silence him.
The UN’s decision-making body met today amid divisions over how quickly to terminate the no-fly zone enforced by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Jalil said during a meeting of NATO and Arab defense chiefs in Doha, Qatar, today that he wants NATO operations in the North African country to continue for at least two more months.
NATO made a preliminary decision last week to begin winding down its enforcement of the no-fly zone and other military operations. Russia, among the most vocal critics of the UN resolution that authorized NATO’s bombing in Libya, wants the mission terminated immediately.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s UN envoy, told reporters that an extension beyond Oct. 31 would be “unrealistic.”
Dabbashi, addressing the council for the first time since Qaddafi’s death, asked the 15-member body “not to be hasty in adopting a resolution” while adding that Oct. 31 was a “logical date” the end NATO’s mandate.
NATO started bombing operations to protect civilians in Libya in March, the month after a revolt against Qaddafi’s government began. Qaddafi died Oct. 20 while trying to escape from his besieged hometown of Sirte. Libya was the third country in the region this year where uprisings have led to a change of leadership; the others are Tunisia and Egypt.
--Editors: Robin Meszoly, Leslie Hoffecker
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