Exactly five years ago Libya’s ex-leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was killed by the rebels who pinpointed him in drainage pipes after a NATO air strike hit his convoy outside his hometown of Sirte.


Muammar Gaddafi


Muammar Gaddafi was killed in the environs of Sirte on October 20, 2011, along with his son Mutasim. Trying to slip out of encircled Sirte, his motorcade came under a NATO air attack. Wounded Gaddafi hid inside a nearby drainage facility but his hideout was discovered by a unit of the National Transitional Council and he was taken prisoner. Muammar Gaddafi and Mutasim are believed to have been tortured before they were killed.


For almost four days, Gaddafi’s body was publicly on display inside an industrial refrigerator in Misrata. He and his son Mutasim were buried in the desert. The location of his grave is kept secret out of fear that it may attract his supporters.


Following Gaddafi’s death, a power struggle erupted at state and regional levels between various clans and armed factions. The situation in the country effectively escalated into a civil war.


The most striking reaction to the death of Libya’s former leader came from then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said “we came, we saw, he died.”