* Muammar Gaddafi's body covered, bullet wound to head
* Wounds hold key to how he died after he was captured alive
* Commander: We wanted him alive but things got out of
* Video of man who is said to have shot Gaddafi
* Wounds on body of Gaddafi's son have been stitched up
By Rania El Gamal
MISRATA, Libya, Oct 23 Libyan forces guarding
Muammar Gaddafi's body in a cold storage room let in members of
the public to view the deposed leader for a second day on
Saturday, but the wounds that may hold the clue to how he died
were covered up.
Gaddafi's body lay on a mattress on the floor of the cold
room, as it did on Friday when hundreds of members of the public
filed in to see for themselves that the man who ruled Libya for
42 years was dead.
But unlike the previous day, Gaddafi's body was covered by a
blanket that left only his head exposed, hiding the bruises on
his torso and scratch marks on his chest that had earlier been
And, crucially, a Reuters reporter who viewed the body said,
Gaddafi's head had been turned to the left. That meant a bullet
hole that earlier could be seen on the left side of his face,
just in front of his ear, could no longer be seen.
Guards overseeing Gaddafi's body handed out green surgical
masks to dozens of people filing in to take a look because of
the stench of rotting flesh filling the room.
The bullet hole in Gaddafi's head, and the other wounds,
could help solve the riddle of whether, as Libya's new rulers
said, he was shot in crossfire in a battle or, as some accounts
suggest, he was killed by the fighters who caught him.
A local military commander in the city of Misrata, where the
forces which captured him took his body, said
"over-enthusiastic" fighters took matters into their own hands
when they came face to face with the man they despise.
"We wanted to keep him alive but the young guys, things went
out of control," he said speaking on condition of anonymity.
Few people in Libya -- where thousands of people, including
civilians, were killed by Gaddafi's forces in the seven-month
rebellion -- say they are troubled by the manner of his death.
But if he was indeed killed by his captors, it will cast
doubt on the promises by Libya's new rulers to respect human
rights and prevent reprisals. It would also embarrass Western
governments which gave their wholehearted backing to the NTC.
CAPTURED ALIVE, DEAD SHORTLY LATER
The dramatic minutes leading up to Gaddafi's death were
chaotic, violent and gruesome -- as testified by the grainy
mobile phone footage seen by the world of the former leader,
bloodied and dazed, being dragged along by NTC fighters.
Gaddafi was still alive when he was captured hiding in a
storm drain outside his hometown of Sirte, but he already had
blood streaming down the side of his face and a wound close to
his left ear very shortly after he had been seized.
Government fighters hauled him onto the bonnet of a Toyota
pick-up truck with the intention, one of them said, of getting
him through the crowd of fellow fighters and to an ambulance
parked about 500 metres (yards) away.
Gaddafi can be heard in one video saying "God forbids this"
several times as slaps from the crowd rain down on his head.
"This is for Misrata, you dog," said one man slapping him.
"Do you know right from wrong?" Gaddafi says.
"Shut up you dog," someone replies as more blows rain down.
Misrata, one of the heartlands of the anti-Gaddafi
rebellion, suffered months of siege and artillery bombardment at
the hands of his forces.
Another video shows Gaddafi being heaved off the bonnet of
the truck and dragged towards a car, then pulled down by his
hair. "Keep him alive, keep him alive!" someone shouts.
Another man in the crowd lets out a high-pitched hysterical
scream. Gaddafi then goes out of view and gunshots ring out. One
of the fighters present said Gaddafi was in a bad way but alive
when he was put in the ambulance.
Yet the ambulance driver, Ali Jaghdoun, said Gaddafi was
dead when he picked him up and he then drove the body to the
city of Misrata. "I didn't try to revive him because he was
already dead," Jaghdoun said.
In other video footage obtained by Reuters a convoy of
vehicles is seen speeding along a desert road, horns blaring and
men shouting "We have Muammar! It's Muammar!".
In later footage the convoy slows to a halt. Fighters rush
to an ambulance shouting that Gaddafi is dead. In the back of
the vehicle a body lies with a bandage over a wound on its upper
abdomen, matching the spot where a bullet hole was seen on
Gaddafi's torso after the body was put on display in Misrata.
The head is covered with a white sheet, but a man beside it
raises it briefly affording a glimpse of the former ruler's
A young man appears beside the ambulance, a bearded man
beside him shouts out:
"He's the killer. And I am the witness who saw him."
The young fighter exclaims excitedly:
"We found him in a hole. He had somebody with him inside
Grinning and brandishing a handgun, the man is feted and
embraced by fighters.
"This is the guy who killed Gaddafi. Using this, you see,"
the man with the beard shouts, holding up the young man's hand
in which he has a gun.
"He did it in front of me. I saw it in front of me."
The new footage does not make clear whether Gaddafi died of
wounds sustained before he was put into the ambulance or whether
he suffered wounds while in the vehicle.
A journalist at the scene confirmed Gaddafi had a head wound
before he was put into the ambulance.
WOUNDS STITCHED UP
In the cold store in Misrata, the body of one of Gaddafi's
sons, Mo'tassim, had been moved from another location elsewhere
in Misrata and placed next to his dead father.
The circumstances leading to the death of Mo'tassim, his
father's national security adviser who was also captured in
Sirte, are similarly murky.
A Reuters reporter was shown a one-minute segment of mobile
phone footage in which a man, who resembled Mo'tassim, was
squatting in a room. He was stripped to the waist, and smoking a
cigarette. He did not appear badly wounded.
Someone could be heard telling him repeatedly: "Say Allahu
Akbar, say Allahu Akbar." The phrase, which means "God is
greatest", is a favourite mantra of the anti-Gaddafi fighters.
At some point after that, he died. When a Reuters reporter
saw his body on Thursday evening, it was laid out in a private
house in Misrata. Wounds to his jaw and part of his neck were
On Saturday in the cold store, Mo'tassim's body was covered
up to the neck with a blanket. The wounds to his jaw and neck
had been stitched up.
Later in the day, the body of a third man, Abu
Bakr Younus Jabr, was brought in and placed on a stretcher
between Gaddafi and his son.
Head of Gaddafi's armed forces, by then just a handful of
troops, Jabr was captured in Sirte alongside his leader. A
bandage was tied under his chin and looped over the top of his
Bullet wounds could be seen to his chest and the
top of his left arm. A Reuters reporter who was able to get
close to the body said she could see gunpowder residue around
the wounds -- which is often consistent with being shot at close
The people queueing outside the cold store, waiting to view
the bodies, did not seem concerned about how their former leader
and his entourage died.
Two Filipino nurses filed in to take pictures. Children were
among the few dozen people waiting outside for their turn.
Abdullah al-Senussi, a man with a white beard, was so frail
he had to be supported by people on either side of him as he
made his way to the cold store.
"We wanted to know if it was true or not," he said. "We
wanted to see him."
Two men arrived waving airline tickets, saying
they needed to jump the queue to see Gaddafi or they would miss
Asked if it would not have been better for Gaddafi to stand
trial, Abdulatif, a pilot waiting in line, said: "What would he
tell the mother whose children were killed or the girls who were
"If he lived and was killed a thousand times, that would
still only be a trifle."
(Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Elizabeth Piper and