Muammar Gaddafi, his son Muatassim and a top aide’s dead bodies have been removed from the cold storage and buried in secret in the desert.
According to a National Transitional Council (NTC) official, the bodies were buried at dawn in an unknown location.
This follows days of apparent uncertainty among the new leadership about what to do with the bodies.
Muammar Gaddafi’s dead body has been removed from the cold storage and buried in secret in the desert
Muammar Gaddafi’s family wanted the bodies to be buried outside the former leader’s hometown of Sirte.
But, NTC officials had expressed a preference for a secret burial.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that it received confirmation in a text from a military council official in Misrata that the burial took place at a secret location at 05:00 local time.
It also reported that a few relatives and officials were in attendance as Islamic prayers were read over the bodies.
Reuters news agency reported that Muammar Gaddafi would be buried in a “simple” ceremony with “sheikhs attending” on Tuesday.
“It will be an unknown location in the open desert,” said an NTC official speaking to Reuters, adding that a burial was needed because decomposition of the body had reached the point where the “corpse cannot last any longer”.
According to some witnesses, the bodies of the three men were removed overnight from the cold storage warehouse in Misrata where they had been on display. Prayers were said over the bodies before they were driven away.
A security guard at the warehouse, Salem al Mohandes, told the Arabic television station al-Jazeera.
“Our job is finished.”
“[Gaddafi] was transferred and the military council of Misrata took him away to an unknown location. I don’t know whether they buried him or not.”
Islamic tradition dictates a burial should happen within a day of the death.
But the NTC leadership was concerned that any public grave could become a shrine for Muammar Gaddafi loyalists or as a target of hatred for those who opposed his regime.
In the end, the decomposition of the body meant the NTC had to act.
Questions have been raised over Gaddafi’s death after video footage showed him alive at the time of capture in Sirte on Thursday. NTC officials said he had been killed subsequently in a cross fire.
According to autopsy report from Sunday, Muammar Gaddafi had received a bullet wound to the head.
Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the acting Libyan leader, said the NTC had formed a committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.