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Gaddafi buried in secret grave.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was buried on Tuesday in a secret desert grave, a National Transitional Council (NTC) official said, ending a wrangle over his rotting corpse that led many to fear for Libya's governability.

With their Western allies uneasy that Gaddafi was roughed up and shot after his capture on Thursday, NTC forces had put the body on show in a cold store while they argued over what to do with it, until its decay forced them on Monday to close the doors.

Spokesman Ibrahim Beitalmal is quoted as saying the burial took place at 5am and that Islamic prayers were read over the bodies. The information could not be independently verified. Decomposition of the body had reached the point where the "corpse cannot last any longer".

The killing of the 69-year-old in his hometown of Sirte brought to a close eight months of war, finally ending a nervous two-month hiatus since the motley rebel forces of the NTC overran the capital Tripoli.

But it also threatened to lay bare the regional and tribal rivalries that present the NTC with its biggest challenge.

NTC officials had said negotiations were going on with Gaddafi's tribal kinsmen from Sirte and within the interim leadership over where and how to dispose of the bodies, and on what the Misrata rebel leaders in possession of the corpses might receive in return for cooperation.

"No agreement was reached for his tribe to take him," the official told Reuters.

With the decay of the body forcing the NTC leadership's hand, it appeared to have decided that an anonymous grave would at least ensure the plot did not become a shrine.

An NTC official had told Reuters several days ago that there would be only four witnesses to the burial, and all would swear on the Koran never to reveal the location.

NTC fears that Gaddafi's sons might mount an insurgency have been largely allayed by the death of two of those who wielded the most power, military commander Khamis and Mo'tassim, the former national security adviser.

Mo'tassim was captured along with his father in Sirte and killed in similarly unclear circumstances, and the NTC official said he would be buried in the same ceremony on Tuesday. Khamis was killed in fighting earlier in the civil war.

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Oct 25, 2011
Words:395
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