A Misrata military council official says Muammar Qaddafi, his son Motassim and a top aide have been buried in a secret location, with a few relatives and officials in attendance.
In a text message read to The Associated Press, spokesman Ibrahim Beitalmal is quoted as saying the burial took place at 5 a.m. Tuesday, and that Islamic prayers were read over the bodies. The information could not be independently verified.
The three bodies had been held in cold storage in Misrata since Qaddafi was captured near his hometown of Sirte on Thursday. Qaddafi died in unclear circumstances within hours of his capture, and Libya’s new leaders have promised an investigation.
Beitalmal has said the burial site would remain secret to prevent vandalism.
An official with the National Transitional Council had said that Qaddafi would be buried on Monday “in a simple burial with sheikhs attending.”
“It will be an unknown location in the open desert,” the official told Reuters by telephone, adding that the decomposition of the body had reached the point where the “corpse cannot last longer.”
“No agreement was reached for his tribe to take him,” he added. Asked if Qaddafi’s son Motassim would be buried in the same ceremony, the official said: “Yes.”
Meanwhile the NTC said the deposed Libyan leader’s fugitive son, Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, is near the borders with Niger and Algeria and planning to flee the country using a forged passport.
“He’s on the triangle of Niger and Algeria. He’s south of Ghat, the Ghat area. He was given a false Libyan passport from the area of Murzuq,” the official told Reuters by telephone.
The official said Muammar Qaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi was involved in the escape plot.
“In the south, they intercepted Thuraya (satellite telephone) communications. Abdullah Senussi has been on the border in that area to organize his exit and also a neighboring intelligence source tipped us off about that,” the official said.
Saif al-Islam, a fluent English speaker who studied at the London School of Economics, is the only one of Muammar Qaddafi’s sons still unaccounted for.
Two fled to Algeria, one is in Niger, two were killed earlier in the Libyan conflict and one, Mo’tassim, was killed after being captured with his father last week near the city of Sirte.
The International Criminal Court earlier this year issued an arrest warrant for Saif al-Islam, and another for al-Senussi.
The NTC official said it would be difficult to track Saif al-Islam’s movements and stop him crossing out of Libya.
“The region is very, very difficult to monitor and encircle. It needs warplanes. Even NATO cannot monitor this area,” he said.
“It needs a large force of our brigades to intercept and to be able to monitor and hunt him down. It is very, very difficult. All we have there is some small-scale patrols of our fighters.”
“The region is a desert region and it has many exits. It is also a smuggling route. It has many, many exit routes.”