In His Last Days, Qaddafi Wearied of Fugitive’s Life
After 42 years of absolute power in Libya, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi spent his last days hovering between defiance and delusion, surviving on rice and pasta his guards scrounged from the emptied civilian houses he moved between every few days, according to an aide captured with him.
Under siege by the former rebels for weeks, Colonel Qaddafi grew impatient with life on the run in the city of Surt, said the aide, Mansour Dhao Ibrahim, the leader of the country’s People Guard, a network of loyalist volunteers and informants. “He would say: ‘Why is there no electricity? Why is there no water?’ ”
Mr. Dhao, who stayed close to Colonel Qaddafi throughout the siege, said that he and other aides repeatedly counseled the colonel to leave power or the country, but that the colonel and one of his sons, Muatassim, would not even consider the option.
Still, though some of the colonel’s supporters portrayed him as bellicose to the end and armed at the front lines, he actually did not take part in the fighting, Mr. Dhao said, instead preferring to read or make calls on his satellite phone. “I’m sure not a single shot was fired,” he said.
As Libya’s interim leaders prepared Saturday to formally start the transition to an elected government and set a timeline for national elections in 2012, sweeping away Colonel Qaddafi’s dictatorship, they faced the certainty that even in death the colonel had hurt them. The battle for Surt, Colonel Qaddafi’s birthplace, was prolonged for months by the presence of the fiercely loyal cadre he kept with him, delaying the end of a war most Libyans had hoped would be over with the fall of Tripoli in August.
Mr. Dhao’s comments, in an interview on Saturday at the military intelligence headquarters in Misurata, came as the final details of the colonel’s death, at the hands of the fighters who had captured him, were still being debated.
Residents of Misurata spent a third day viewing the bodies of Colonel Qaddafi and his son at a meat locker in a local shopping mall. Officials with the interim government have said that they will conduct an autopsy on the bodies and investigate allegations that the two men may have been killed while in custody, though local security officials have said they see no need for such an inquiry…