Khadafi's desperate final days described by security official
Africa's longest serving ruler fed on scraps of food and moved about abandoned homes before his death
One of Moammar Khadafi's top security officials describes the former
Libyan strongman's final days as chaotic and desperate. The once rich
and powerful dictator was reduced to subsisting on scraps of food he and
his men found in abandoned houses where they took shelter.
Among the elite of Khadafi's henchmen, Mansour Daou spoke to CNN reporters he awaited trial at a detention facility in Misrata.
Remaining at Khadafi's side until his final hours, Daou told reporters how the former leader was forced to scavenge for food and hide in abandoned houses in the coastal city of Sirte. "He was very worried and erratic -- this could be because he was afraid," Daou said.
Khadafi reportedly became desperate to travel to his birthplace, the village of Jaref, 20 kilometers west of Sirte, and a journey that Daou feared was "suicide."
"He wanted to go to his village, maybe he wanted to die there or spend his last moments there," he said.
After NATO jets attacked his convoy, Khadafi tried to flee on foot through drainage pipes, but was caught and brutally killed.
Daou says he had been in the same car as Khadafi as they made their chaotic escape from the former leader's hometown of Sirte. Khadafi left Tripoli for Sirte on August 18, according to Daou, when it became clear Tripoli was no longer safe for the regime's top tier.
Daou then fled to the city of Bani Walid on August 22, along with Khadafi's son, Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, before joining the former dictator in Sirte four days later.
Khadafi and his inner circle's living conditions went from bad to worse as the rebels tightened their siege of the city. Moving around abandoned houses every three to four days, they survived on the little food they could find. Towards the end, they had no power, water or communication with the outside world. "Our lives had turned by about 180 degrees."
Khadafi spent his final days writing and reading books he had stacked in suitcases, Daou said. Khadafi's group of about 350 men had dropped to fewer than 200, according to Daou. "It started dropping daily with some killed, others wounded and those who had left with their families," he said.
Their convoy of more than 40 vehicles was supposed to head out before dawn when they thought anti-Khadafi forces would be resting -- but they were too late.
The strike upon their convoy by NATO forces was quick and decisive. "That is when we had the most casualties and destroyed vehicles, our car was hit after we got out of it. Here were many injured: someone lost an arm, another a leg, some were dead. It was terrifying," Daou recalled.
Daou said he lost consciousness after he was hit by shrapnel in his back and does not know how Khadafi died. One thing is for certain: the death of Khadafi ended the possibility of an insurgency that his loyalists could have mounted. "The regime and any power it may have had died with Khadafi," he said.
Asked if he regretted being part of the regime, Daou said "Sometimes I regret everything, I have even regretted being alive, of course a person has regrets at a time in his life and looks back but unfortunately you sometimes regret when it is too late."
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Libya, Khadafi, regime downfall, death
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