Libya spent over 40 years under the leadership of Muammar Gaddafi, who used the natural oil resources to stay in power. A revolt pushed him from power in August 2011 after a six-month struggle and heavy fighting throughout the country. By November numerous local militia leaders who helped topple the government abandoned a pledge to give up their weapons. They intend to preserve their autonomy and influence political decisions which could pose a problem for the provisional government.
Urban fights that were fought daily took a death toll over 6000 people. Approximately 300,000 people have fled over the borders to Tunisia and Egypt and the United Nations World Food Program recently boosted aid delivery. The provision of more than 15,000 daily hot meals is cooked in a transit camp along Libya's border with Tunisia. Although Gaddafi had vowed to stay in power until the bitter end, his forces retreated.
The Transitional National Council now faces sporadic clashes between local militias as well as vigilante revenge killings and many civilian leaders along with some fighters have started to question the council's fragile authority. Libya's deposed leader Gaddafi was captured alive from a drain under a motorway in Sirte, the city of his birthplace, where he had been hiding with a small group of bodyguards. One rebel claimed that he had been killed as he put up a desperate last fight for freedom. He carried his golden revolver on him at all times, and may have pulled it from his clothes.
The future of Libya
Five days after Gaddafi was taken into custody and then killed in his hometown of Sirte, the burrial was held in an undisclosed location. The National Transitional Council and the United Nations have both called for an independent investigation into the death of the man who ruled Libya for 42 years. The body had been available for public viewing from a cold storage unit for some time, unless when it was autopsied.
Libya's current leaders declared the national freedom a few days after the death of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Cheering crowds packed a central square in Benghazi for a ceremony that formally signaled victory after long eight months of fighting. Audience members carried signs, waved flags and batted around balloons in the city where it all started. However, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported housands of newly arrested people in the battle torn nation. Committee representatives observed more than 30,000 displaced people and mass graves in nearly abandoned cities. With a civil war brought to an end, a peace should reach Libya soon making all the violence and bloodshed a part of history.Next: Documentary on conflict in Libya