Al Arabiya Tripoli correspondent Ahmad Bagato was given a tour of Muammar Qaddafi’s Sumud house by the rebels who stormed the Bab al-Aziziya compound a few days ago.
One rebel narrated the incident of storming the compound: “Under the command of Tripoli Brigade, the rebels were positioned in the mountains. They went down to al-Aziziya, reached Tripoli and made it into Qaddafi’s compound. From their position in Tripoli they attacked Bab al-Aziziya, went inside and seized all the spoils.”
The rebel points to a “presidential” tuk tuk, which could once be found roaming the roads of Tripoli at the height of Qaddafi’s power. “It was seized by the rebels of Suk al-Jumaa on their first day in Bab al-Aziziya. It is Qaddafi’s most precious belonging and we took it,” the man said.
Rebels expressed both their joy and fury as they showed Bagato the compound. “This is a house of shame and disgrace. God bless all the rebels in all the regions of Libya,” said one.
“This is not a house of resilience; it is now a house of silence,” said another.
The man was referring to Sumud House (house of resilience), as Qaddafi once considered it a symbol of resistance. The house was hit by US forces and today shows no sign of Qaddafi or his aides.
One of the rebels accompanying Bagato said, “This is the house of the big hypocrite who imposed 42 years of dictatorship and oppression on the Libyans. The man is a liar; he placed a rocket by himself in a bid to fake his own death.”
The famous balcony from where Qaddafi and his family stood and waved to supporters is also part of the property the rebels claim as belonging to the revolution.
“We entered his house and we will hunt for him street by street, hole by hole, just like he used to say [about traitors],” added one of the rebels.
Bagato was also given a tour of a secret underground maze of tunnels fanning out for miles in different directions from Sumud house.
Bagato walked through one of the tunnels to see where it would lead, but about 200 meters into his walk he turned back, afraid of losing his way.
Rebels believe that the maze of tunnels explains Qaddafi’s ability to move around the city without being seen. They also believe that Qaddafi and his aides fled the city using these tunnels.
(This story was translated from Arabic by Stanela Khalil.)