Gadhafi may be buried Tuesday
NATO had 'no idea' ex-ruler was in convoy, Canadian commander says
The body of ousted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi will be buried Tuesday in a secret location, according to a media report quoting an official with Libya's interim government.
Reuters news agency also reported Monday that the bodies of Gadhafi, his son Motassim and his security chief were moved to an unknown location from a cold storage room in Misrata, where they had been displayed to the public since their deaths last week.
Ali Aujali, Libyan ambassador to the U.S., told CBC's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon the decision came as no surprise to him.
"They have either to bury him and and some other [people say], 'No, we just throw his body in the sea. But I think according to Islamic religion, maybe we have to take the second choice. They have to bury him, but I do agree completely to a place unknown to the people," Aujali said.
Aujali defended the move to leave Gadhafi's body on display, saying it gave Libyans the opportunity to confirm his death.
"The Libyans, they're very ambitious to see him dead. This man — maybe he put in the Libyan mind that he cannot be killed," he said.
Meanwhile, NATO said Monday a formal decision will be taken "in the next few days" about ending the military alliance's air campaign that helped to oust Gadhafi. A preliminary decision was announced last Friday to end Operation Unified Protector on Oct. 31.
On Monday, NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu, speaking in Brussels, said, "We are not entirely done but almost there." She added the alliance will "monitor the situation and retain a capacity to respond."
Canadian Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard, meanwhile, appeared at the NATO briefing in Naples, Italy to give a rundown of the operation, which began in March, a month into the uprising.
- An estimated 5,900 targets were destroyed.
- NATO planes flew about 26,000 sorties.
NATO airstrikes helped to topple the 42-year regime, which was officially declared defeated on Sunday, three days after Gadhafi was captured and killed.
Bouchard said NATO had "no idea" that Gadhafi was part of a convoy when it was attacked Thursday by a French fighter jet near the last remaining loyalist stronghold.
"I was surprised that Gadhafi was in the Sirte area," he said.
When 175 vehicles were spotted leaving Sirte, there was concern they might join up with other pro-Gadhafi forces and hold the civilian population in the area hostage.
NATO attempted to break the convoy up and slow it down. Bouchard said there were rockets and machine guns on some of the pickup trucks, which represented "a clear threat to the civilian population."
Probe ordered into Gadhafi's death
Also on Monday, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the chair of the National Transitional Council, ordered an investigation into Gadhafi's death amid increased international pressure to do so.
Questions continue about whether Gadhafi was executed after his capture — and a human rights groups is now drawing attention to a discovery in Sirte that it says shows anti-Gadhafi fighters considered themselves "above the law."
The New York-based Human Rights Watch said Monday that it has discovered 53 decomposing bodies, apparently of Gadhafi loyalists, some of whom may have been executed by revolutionary forces.
The group has also urged Libyan authorities to rein in armed groups.
NATO's Bouchard told CBC News it's up to the National Transitional Council (NTC) to deal with weapons on the ground, adding, "It's their responsibility to ensure their borders are secure."
The NTC, whose members act as Libya's new leaders, declared the country officially liberated on Sunday, following a brutal eight-month civil war.
In separate accounts late on Sunday, two Libyan fighters said Gadhafi was hurt after being captured near Sirte, but was able to stand.
One said that when he and others placed Gadhafi in an ambulance, the former Libyan leader had not yet suffered what Libya's chief pathologist said was a fatal gunshot to the head.
An autopsy was carried out Sunday on the body, laid out for public viewing in a commercial freezer on Monday for a fourth day in Misrata, 200 kilometres east of Tripoli.
Gadhafi's capture and the fall of Sirte set the stage for the long-awaited declaration of liberation on Sunday, delivered by the head of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdu Jalil. He did not mention the circumstances surrounding Gadhafi's death.
Cellphone videos showed the wounded deposed leader being taunted and beaten by a mob after his capture.
Gadhafi had been pulled from a roadside culvert, where he hid after his convoy came under attack. He was dragged across open ground and placed on the hood of a truck before being taken to an ambulance.
The autopsy found bullets lodged in Gadhafi's abdomen and skull.
A lawyer for Saadi Gadhafi, one of the deposed leader's sons who escaped to Niger, said his client is "shocked and outraged by the vicious brutality" shown toward his father and brother Motassim,.
With files from The Associated Press