Former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi killed after months of civil war

Libyan officials have announced that former Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Qaddafi was captured and killed by rebel forces yesterday outside the town of Sirte. The death came after months of civil war in Libya and weeks of battling over Sirte, which was Qaddafi’s hometown and last stronghold.

According to the New York Times, “Colonel Qaddafi’s body was shown in… photographs, with bullet holes apparently fired into his head at what forensic experts said was close range, raising the possibility that he was executed by anti-Qaddafi fighters.”

Qaddafi had been the sole ruler of Libya since 1961, when he staged a military coup that overthrew the last king of Libya. Accusations of corruption and human rights violations led to Internet-organized protests, culminating in the outbreak of civil war on February 15. Rebel groups, composed largely of Libyan civilians, fought Qaddafi’s forces for several months, aided by NATO forces.

Over the next several months, the rebel forces pushed Qaddafi’s army into the capital city of Tripoli, eventually taking the city and Qaddafi’s power.

“I think that its a good thing for the Libyan people that he is dead,” Ryan Shah (10) said. “But I think that now the rebels are going to be faced with the difficult task of trying to control the country without causing another uprising… the Obama administration will probably be spending a good deal of time making sure that the new ruler is friendly to the United States.”

Qaddafi’s 42-year rule was the longest in Libya’s history. Over its course, he was criticized with accusations of ethnic cleansing, criminalizing political dissent, funneling government funds to himself and close relatives and friends, and interfering militarily with other nearby Arab countries. He was charged with crimes against humanity this year by the International Criminal Court.

Qaddafi was found with several loyalist bodyguards in a drain under the city of Sirte.

A cell phone video of Qaddafi’s capture, which was has since gone viral over the Internet, depicted a wounded Qaddafi being dragged and beaten by his captors. (Warning: the video is extremely graphic.)

See the Al-Jazeera coverage here.

Read the New York Times coverage here.

Zoe Schaver contributed to this article. 

Emily McConville is a junior at duPont Manual High School. She is the copy advisor of the Crimson Yearbook, the assistant copy editor of Manual Redeye, and the captain of the Manual Speech Team. She hopes to major in Journalism and Political Science after graduating high school.