Muammar Gaddafi allegedly used torture squads to terrify his opponents and dissuade them from revolting against his regime, according to a report by Reuters.
Gaddafi’s forces kidnapped people, held them in special containers while they tortured them for information and then discarded their dead bodies in unmarked graves, it states. The report is based on evidence Reuters gathered from the town of Khoms, 75 miles east of the capital, Tripoli.
The forces allegedly used a range of torture tactics from delivering electric shocks to victims’ genitals to whipping them with an electrical cable while they were tied up.
“They wanted to frighten the people, so if anyone was thinking of going over to the rebels, they would change their minds,” Nabil Al-Menshaz, an official in the rebel council that took over Khoms, told Reuters.
Gaddafi’s torture operatus was well-organized and systematic, and each unit had its own command structure and bureaucracy, the report states.
Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch told Reuters the information from Khoms was consistent with information the rights organization has gathered on efforts by the Gaddafi regime to terrorize people.
Meanwhile, there were reports Tuesday that a convoy of vehicles carrying Gaddafi loyalists from Libya traveled into Niger, accompanied by a Nigerian army escort. The spotting of the convoy has led to speculation that Gaddafi might have fled Libya.
Reuters says that Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam may be considering joining the convoy and continuing through Niger into Burkina Faso in the southwest. Burkina Faso has offered Gaddafi asylum.
Nonetheless, Gaddafi’s spokesperson, Moussa Ibrahim, insists the former leader remains in Libya and is determined to fight for his country.