20 Oct 2011

Celebrations as Gaddafi confirmed dead

As former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is confirmed dead, Channel 4 News International Editor Lindsey Hilsum, who is in Tripoli, says people are “going crazy” and celebrating his death.

As news of the former dictator’s death was given at a press conference in Tripoli, Libyans present shouted “Allah Akbar”, reports International Editor Lindsey Hilsum.

An NTC fighter in Sirte said he had seen Gaddafi shot after he was cornered and captured in a tunnel near a roadway.

The capture of Sirte means Libya’s ruling NTC should now begin the task of forging a new democratic system which it had said it would get under way after the city, Gaddafi’s hometown, had fallen.

Read more: Gaddafi - from pariah to ally and back again

Dr Ahmed Sewehli from Manchester, whose father was kidnapped by the regime but released in May, told Channel 4 News it was “great” news: “The killing of Gaddafi will make the place much more stable, he wanted revenge and blood and now he has been put out of action.”

“I didn’t necessarily (want to see him on trial) the main thing is that he’s been put out of action.”

Abu Bakr Younes, head of Gaddafi’s armed forces, was killed during the operation to capture the colonel, according to the NTC. Al-Jazeera has broadcast a picture of what it claims is Younes’s body.

Reuters is also reporting that Moussa Ibrahim, former spokesman for the Gaddafi government, has been captured.

Channel 4 News LIVE BLOG: Endgame for Gaddafi

‘Democratic future’

Prime Minister David Cameron made a statement following confirmation of Gaddafi’s death saying he was “proud” of the role Britain had played.

He said it was a day to remember all the victims of Gaddafi’s Libya including the “the many, many Libyans who died at the hands of a brutal dictator.”

Mr Cameron added that Libyans now had a “greater chance of a stronger and democratic future”.

President Barack Obama hailed Muammar Gaddafi’s death as a warning to authoritarian leaders across the Middle East that iron-fisted rule “inevitably comes to an end,” and as vindication for his cautious strategy towards Libya.

“This marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya who now have the opportunity to determine their own destiny in a new and democratic Libya,” Obama said in the White House Rose Garden.”

Its fall means the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) can now begin the task of forging a new political system in Libya.

As potentially vast revenues from oil and gas begin to roll in again, Libya’s six million people, scattered in towns spread across wide deserts, face a major task in organising a new system of government.

Channel 4 News International Editor Lindsey Hilsum is in Tripoli:

Several Libyans I've spoken to say they wish Gaddafi had been captured alive.

"Then we could put him in a big cage and treat him like a criminal," said a man from Zintan.

But from the point of view of the NTC, the interim Government, he's probably easier to handle dead.

They would have had to send him to the ICC in the Hague where he might have used the platform of a trial to rally his supporters as Milosevic did.

Mahmoud Shammam the NTC spokesman said to me "we seriously intended to give him a fair trial but God had some other wish".

More on Libya