By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 27 September:
Mahmoud Jibril has claimed that an international intelligence agency orchestrated the killing of Muammar Qaddafi and not Libyan revolutionaries as previously thought.
The National Forces Alliance chief said that the objective was to silence Qaddafi before he could reveal damaging secrets about his regime’s dealings with foreign security services.
Jibril made the remarks last night during an interview with the Egyptian television channel Dream TV. He has been in Cairo for the past few days attending an international conference on the Arab Spring uprisings and their implications for the region.
The potentially incendiary claim comes just one day after the death of Omran Shaban, the Misratan revolutionary credited with first discovering Qaddafi in a drainpipe in his hometown of Sirte.
“An international intelligence agency was responsible for his [Qaddafi’s] death”, Jibril said, “not the Libyan revolutionaries as most people believe.
“The aim was to silence Qaddafi forever because he held many big secrets and documents and had many relationships with numerous security services”.
Jibril did not specify which foreign security service he had in mind, nor did he provide any evidence to substantiate his claim.
A NATO airstrike is known to have struck the convoy in which Qaddafi and his entourage were travelling on 20 October last year as he tried to flee Sirte.
The dictator survived the attack, however, and he is reported to have limped, bleeding, to a storm drain nearby where he was subsequently discovered by Omran Shaban.
Graphic amateur video footage subsequently emerged of Qaddafi being set upon by a group of revolutionaries, although the final moments of his life are not recorded. He is believed to have been shot dead.
Although the Qaddafi regime was blacklisted by much of the international community for several decades, relations improved in 2004 after Qaddafi pledged to abandon his nuclear weapons programme and to stop supporting international terrorism.
Intelligence services such as the CIA and MI6 subsequently cooperated with Qaddafi in the so-called “War on Terror”, including through the rendition of several Libyan dissidents back to Libya, where many were allegedly tortured by the regime.
Jibril’s comments are likely to generate controversy amongst Misratans already suspicious of the NFA leader, whom they accuse of being too close to Bani Walid.
Jibril hails from the Warfallah tribe, whose seat is Bani Walid, where Shaban was captured in July.
He had been dispatched to the western town after two prominent journalists were taken hostage there. He was shot and allegedly suffered severe torture whilst in custody, and died from his wounds on Tuesday in a hospital in Paris.