October 20, 2011 was the day on which longtime Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was deposed. Six years on, news about the north African country has been a mixture of chaos and anarchy despite global efforts to put it back on track.
Six years after he was captured and killed in his home town of Sirte, we look at some highlights of his reign and present a dozen pictures that chronicle his time as leader of Libya.
Local rebel groups were aided by western forces, specifically, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to overthrow the man who had ruled Libya for close to five decades.
Today, Libya is split between rivals governments ruling different parts of the oil rich country. Insurgent group ISIS until recently had seized parts of Sirte only driven out by a government fightback.
‘‘We are in a period that is much worse than the last, and Libya is threatened with extinction,” said one resident in 2016.
“After the previous regime fell, we hoped that with the will of God, things would be better because we expect a lot from our country.
“We hope that those who love their country will unite for reconciliation, to create national reconciliation. It’s the only way for the country to be built, God willing,” said another resident.
READ ALSO: Obama: Aftermath of Gaddafi overthrow, ‘worst mistake’### Five facts about Gaddafi
- He was captured and killed in his hometown of Sirte, he was born in the same place on 7 June 1942.
- He attended the Libyan military academy and also received training in Greece and the United Kingdom
- He seized power after a coup d’etat on September 1, 1969. He promoted himself from ‘‘Captain’‘ to ‘‘Colonel’‘ after the coup.
- He married twice and had seven sons and a daughter.
- He developed what he called the third universal theory which is expounded in his infamous ‘‘Green Book’‘ published in 1975.
Muammar Gaddafi of Libya – October 20, 2011
One of the most flamboyant and controversial political leaders of the last century, Gaddafi’s rise and fall is the subject of much debate till date.
He was killed by rebel forces that captured him in his hometown of Sirte following a NATO-backed revolution in 2011. It was widely thought that his son, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, was going to be his successor but with his father killed, Saif is the subject of local and international court summons.
Came to power: 1969 through a bloodless coup, ruled for 42 years and was killed at age 69.
Took over from: King Idris I who at the time was seeking medical attention in Turkey
Succeeded by: No successor as yet, Libya is divided between political factions after Gaddafi was shot dead in 2011 by rebels.
READ MORE: African presidents who died in office  ### Our top 12 photos on Gaddafi
Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi delivers a speech at the start of the third European Union-Africa summit in Tripoli November 29, 2010.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi © talks with Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguessou (L) and Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz as they stand for photograph outside a tent in Gaddafi’s heavily fortified Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli April 10, 2011.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi cheers his supporters, as he is surrounded by members of the media, after a meeting with a delegation of five African leaders at his Bab al-Aziziyah compound in Tripoli April 10, 2011.
A Libyan policeman stands guard under a portrait of Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi at Tripoli’s military airport November 28, 2010. Libya will host the third European Union-Africa summit on November 29 and 30.
(From L to R) Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani, Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa pose for a family photo during a meeting of five Arab states in Tripoli June 28, 2010.
Libyan President and new chairman of the African Union Muammar Gaddafi speaks to the media after the closing ceremony of the 12th African Union summit at the United Nations Headquarters in Addis Ababa February 4, 2009
Libya’s President Muammar Gaddafi (2ndR), French President Nicolas Sarkozy ® and Claude Gueant (2ndL), General Secretary of the Elysee Palace, visit Bab Azizia Palace in Tripoli July 25, 2007 the day after the release of six foreign medics from Libyan jails.
Gaddafi in quotes
“There is no state with a democracy except Libya on the whole planet. In the Middle East, the opposition is quite different than the opposition in advanced countries. In our countries, the opposition takes the form of explosions, assassinations, killings.”
Address to US Academics, March 2006
“Libya is an African country. May Allah help the Arabs and keep them away from us. We don’t want anything to do with them.“
Libyan TV, March 2007
“I am an international leader, the dean of the Arab rulers, the king of kings of Africa and the imam of Muslims, and my international status does not allow me to descend to a lower level.“
Arab League summit, March 2009
“Freedom of expression is the right of every natural person, even if a person chooses to behave irrationally, to express his or her insanity.”
“Women, like men, are human beings. This is an incontestable truth… Women are different from men in form because they are females, just as all females in the kingdom of plants and animals differ from the male of their species… According to gynaecologists women, unlike men, menstruate each month… Since men cannot be impregnated they do not experience the ailments that women do.”
Both excerpts from the Green Book
Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa
Africanews, web journalist
Congo, Pointe Noire
All photos: Courtesy of Reuters Pictures