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Libyans celebrate Gaddafi's end -

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Libyans celebrate Gaddafi's end

Broadcast: 21/10/2011

Reporter: Ben Knight

Libyans have taken to the streets of their country to celebrate the death of former leader Moamar


ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: Libyans have been showing off the bloodied body of their former leader,
Moamar Gaddafi.

The pictures are irrefutable proof to a country cowed by 42 years of dictatorship that his long and
often tyrannical reign is finally over.

Tonight, celebrations are continuing as Libya contemplates a future free from Gaddafi's once-feared

Middle East correspondent Ben Knight reports. And a warning, this story contains some graphic

BEN KNIGHT, REPORTER: Over the dead body of their dictator, they celebrated.

Many of these fighters weren't even born when Moamar Gaddafi came to power. But it was they who
brought his reign to an end.

(Footage of Gaddafi's capture)

BEN KNIGHT: The moments following his capture were filmed on mobile phones by those who surrounded

He looked stunned and bleeding, but clearly still alive.

Libya's interim government has promised that Gaddafi would be taken alive to face trial. But when
the moment came, stopping these rebels from taking their revenge was always going to be next to

Some time later Moamar Gaddafi is seen slumped on the floor, apparently unconscious.

Piecing the end together is going to be difficult.

(Footage of man believe to be Gaddafi's security chief being interviewed)

A man believed to be Gaddafi's security chief says they were fleeing the city of Sirte when their
convoy was hit by a NATO airstrike.

The blue face is that of Libya's former defence minister who was killed.

Gaddafi and several others tried to escape on foot.

Gaddafi himself was found hiding in an underground pipe.

His trademark golden pistol paraded as evidence of his capture.

The interim government claims Gaddafi was then caught in crossfire and shot in the head.

He was reportedly taken away by ambulance, but died before he reached the hospital.

MAHMOUD JIBRIL, LIBYA'S INTERIM PRIME MINISTER: The coroner was not able to determine whether the
bullet came from the rebels or from Gaddafi forces.

BEN KNIGHT: Whatever the circumstances of his death, it hardly seems to matter on the ground.

MALE CELEBRATOR 1: We catch him there and we shot him, somebody shot him by gun, nine milli.

MALE CELEBRATOR 2: We have done what we have to do. If it is necessary, we shall do it again.

(Footage of street celebrations in Libya)

BEN KNIGHT: On the streets, there was relief and amazement that the revolution started back in
February had finally succeeded in its ultimate aim.

MALE CELEBRATOR 3 (Translation): I can't describe how happy I am. We have got rid of the dictator.
His era is finished. Thank God Libya is free.

BEN KNIGHT: NATO is already winding down its operations, without which this revolution could never
have succeeded.

Libya's new beginning starts now.

BARACK OBAMA, US PRESIDENT: I'm very proud of the work we did on this operation. Most importantly,
I'm very proud of what the Libyan people have achieved.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: This is an historic day for the Libyan nation. It's a day of triumph
of the human spirit and I want to pay tribute to the thousands of Libyans who, with courage, have
fought for freedom in their nation.

BEN KNIGHT: The Libyan ambassador to Australia severed ties with the Gaddafi regime early on in the

Today Musbah Allafi was asked how he felt about his former's leader grisly demise.

MUSBAH ALLAFI, LIBYAN AMBASSADOR TO AUSTRALIA: He put himself in that position. He's the one, you
know, responsible for what happened to him because he's the one who insisted to put himself in that

He had so many calls from all corners of the world from the beginning of this crisis but he never
listened to anybody and he chose to go ahead and to continue until he found himself in this end.

BEN KNIGHT: And in the parts of the world burnt by the worst of the atrocities he commissioned,
there was little sympathy either.

ALEX SALMOND, SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER: Well Colonel Gaddafi was a cruel dictator, he lived by the
sword and now he has died by the sword. I think all of us must hope this will bring to an end the
civil conflict in Libya.

BEN KNIGHT: More grizzly pictures have emerged of the body of one of Colonel Gaddafi's sons.

Mutassim was his father's national security advisor. He was captured alive in Sirte last week.

But the fate of Gaddafi's favoured son and heir, Saif al-Islam, is still surrounded by mystery. The
latest report has him still at large somewhere in the Libyan desert.

Ben Knight, Lateline.