TRIPOLI — Libya’s interim government will hand the body of slain despot Moamer Kadhafi to his relatives after consulting with them on the location of his burial, a senior government advisor said on Sunday.
“The decision has been taken to hand him over to his extended family, because none of his immediate family are present at this moment,” Ahmed Jibril told AFP.
“The NTC (National Transitional Council) are in consultation with his family. It is for his family to decide where Kadhafi will be buried, in consultation with the NTC,” he added.
Jibril, who is an advisor to the new regime’s interim premier Mahmud Jibril, declined to say when the transfer would take place.
Since he was killed on Thursday, as he tried to flee his hometown of Sirte, Kadhafi’s body has been held in a refrigerated chamber outside Misrata, drawing large crowds wanting to view the remains of the despot who ruled Libya with an iron fist for decades.
The NTC has been reticent about plans for his burial, not wishing to see the grave become a rallying point for residual loyalists, and NTC leaders and military officials have indicated that he would be buried in a secret location.
Kadhafi’s immediate family are either dead, in exile or unaccounted for.
Safia and three of his children — her daughter Aisha and sons Hannibal and Mohammed — fled Libya in August and found shelter in Algeria. Another son, Saadi, escaped to Niger on September 11.
Three of Kadhafi’s children have been killed since a popular revolt erupted in February: Mutassim, who was killed on Thursday in Sirte, Seif al-Arab, struck during a NATO raid in April, and Khamis, who died in combat in August.
Only the fate of Seif al-Islam, the 39-year-old heir apparent, remains unknown, giving rise to conflicting reports, some suggesting he has been killed or captured; others that he fled to Niger.
Disquiet has grown internationally over how Kadhafi met his end on Thursday, after NTC fighters hauled him out of a culvert where he was hiding following NATO air strikes on the convoy in which he had been trying to flee his falling hometown.
Rumours abound that he was executed after being captured alive, although the NTC is adamant he was shot in the head when he was caught “in crossfire” between his supporters and new regime fighters soon after his capture.
Kadhafi’s widow Safia was quoted by Syria-based Arrai television on Friday calling for a UN investigation into the circumstances of her husband’s death.