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Gaddafi burial drama

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Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his son Mo’tassim were buried on Tuesday in a secret desert location, a National Transitional Council (NTC) official said, ending a wrangle over their rotting corpses that led to fears for Libya’s stability.

The low-key ceremony and anonymous grave for Gaddafi and his son Mo’tassim were decided on to ensure the burial plot does not become a shrine.

With their Western allies uneasy that Gaddafi was roughed up and shot after his capture last 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 to close the doors on Monday.

“Gaddafi and the son, Mo’tassim, were buried at dawn in a secret place with proper respects paid. We will release more details officially later,” a senior interim government official told Reuters.

A military official from the town of Misrata, where the corpses had been on public display in a meat locker, confirmed the burials.

The killing of the 69-year-old in his home town of Sirte brought to a close eight months of war, finally ending a nervous two-month hiatus since the NTC’s motley forces 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 leaders in possession of the corpses might receive in return for co-operation.

“No agreement was reached for his tribe to take him,” another NTC official said.

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.

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