When it was reported (but then denied) that Muammar Gaddafi's most militant son, Khamis, was captured alive recently, it seemed time to revisit the last time he was declared dead. Six months earlier almost to the day, in late August/early September of last year, he was reported killed in a rebel strike on his retreating convoy just after the fall of Tripoli.
Allegedly, this strike came right after his father and Libya's onetime symbolic leader Muammar Gaddafi and parts of his core family met at Khamis' Yarmouk military base and fled from Tripoli. That was August 26, one week into the rebel assault on the capitol, four days after they claimed 90% of the city, three days after the alleged massacre of over 150 prisoners there, and about the same exact time rebels finally acknowledge holding the Yarmouk base itself (or, as the clues suggest, three days after the rebels violently took the base).
This is according to a baby-faced teenage captive who was presented to Richard Pendlebury of the UK Daily Mail, for an article run September2: "The car was armoured like a tank. But that wasn't enough to save Gaddafi's son Khamis when the rebels took their vengeance." Seventeen-year-old Abdul Salam Taher al-Fargi is described as "a child of the southern desert," who "has witnessed history.” So he says, anyway. (Photo of al-Farji speaking with Pendlebury)
In his story, he was the youngest recruit to Khamis Gaddafi’s bodyguard, picked for his youth, innocence, possibly his big hair, and his origin in the Loyalist town of Sabha. His very recruitment handily proved the desperation of the dying regime. Al-Fargi was given three days’ training shooting a gun, then sent to Tripoli with big promises following victory. He survived days of fighting “around Green Square and in the Bosleem [Abu Salim] district.” Pendlebury continues:
Then, on Thursday last week [Aug.25], when it was clear that the regime was finished, he was summoned along with other hand-picked soldiers to Khamis’s compound in the Salahuddin district.This base is apparently the Yarmouk one, the only base of the 32nd brigade in the Salaheddin district, and among their two largest in the Tripoli area. Khamis had reportedly been there three days before when he ordered that 150 prisoners in the shed out back should be killed.
The soldiers stayed there overnight. Then, on Friday, things began to happen. A Hyundai saloon arrived through the front gate and out got the ‘King of Kings himself’ — the nation’s leader — in a flowing robe and desert headdress. With Gaddafi Snr was his daughter Aisha, said Abdul.
The father spoke to Khamis and then left with Aisha in a military vehicle.
Another brother, Saadi, was reported as also having been in their convoy.
Abdul and his comrades were given lunch, then Khamis told them to get ready to go to Bani Walid. They would be meeting another brother, Mutassim, there.
The 60-vehicle convoy left Tripoli at around 4.30pm, Abdul recalls. Khamis was travelling in a heavily-armoured Toyota Land Cruiser.
4:30 on Friday the 26th is apparently just ahead of, or even just behind, the photographer Daniel Berehulak who followed the rebels into Yarmouk. His set of eight photos of the shed massacre site are dated August 26 and, by the angle of sunlight seen (this image is the best help), it was mid-late afternoon - anywhere from about 4:00 to as late as 6:00PM (time analysis, uncertain, discussed here).
Further, it's about four hours after the rebels finally conquered the base, according to the unnamed fighter who spoke to Human Rights Watch. He said they entered the base around noon on the 26th, and to prove it, said that's when they first smelled and then saw the burning remains in the shed. At the same time, we're to accept, the Gaddafi family themselves were enjoying lunch alongside that smell some feet away, and then casually departed four hours later, before it was too late!
Just past Tahouna, near Bani Walid, an ammunition truck in Khamis' convoy was hit by rebels, Pendlebury was told, leaving a smashed bed that looks to me like a NATO bomb hit it from above. Photo of ammunition truck
Pendlebury described the convoy's last mission so:
What would appear to be happening is a fighting retreat, to buy time for the Gaddafis to escape into the desert wastes. Some regime forces have already left Bani Walid and moved to Sofe Aljane, 50 miles further south. Gaddafi himself is also thought to have gone.Abdul al-Farji was with them. He said:
‘We were told the road was clear, and my pick-up truck was sent forward to make sure it was,’ said Abdul, who was manning a heavy machine gun mounted on the back.
‘We ran straight into rebel vehicles. I opened fire first and they shot back.’
But as the driver of his own vehicle tried to turn away from the rebel positions, Abdul lost his footing, fell out and was captured.
The last time he saw Khamis’s vehicle it was on fire, but still moving slowly.The jeep apparently was hit too, but the kid survived, because he fell off of it. He was captured and told his story like so. The witness seems quite confident, open, and eager to explain all he saw and knew. He said he had been misled about the kind rebels, but now wanted to help them, and he was. And they were kind, to him.
It is clear, though, that Abdul has become something of a pet for the rebels. As we talked, another colonel came in, ruffled his hair, pinched his cheek and kissed him.
‘We are all one country,’ he beamed. ‘And this is still a Libyan child.’It was the convoy battle by Tahouna that proved the kid was right, Khamis was in that convoy, and he didn’t come out alive, so was presumed among the charred dead. Pendlebury added:
The rebel colonel describes the demise of the dictator’s son. ‘His vehicle was well protected, but we hit it with a 23mm gun and it burned,’ he said.
I viewed the charred and melted remains of the Toyota by the side of the empty road. The glass was almost an inch thick and the armour on the doors would not have disgraced a tank. The bodywork did not appear to have been penetrated.Photo of the armored Land Crusier.
Does it add up well?
Other Evidence for Khamis'Death