After reveling Gadhafi's death, fighters near Sirte quietly go home
updated 7:12 AM EDT, Fri October 21, 2011
- Hundreds of revolutionary fighters go back home to Misrata
- Some give conflicting reports about what led to Moammar Gadhafi's death
- Many claim involvement in Gadhafi's capture
- The fighters say they want to return to their regular jobs or their studies
Near Sirte, Libya (CNN) -- One day ago, this outpost on the outskirts of Sirte was the scene of unbridled euphoria as revolutionary fighters captured their greatest prize -- deposed ruler Moammar Gadhafi.
But after the death of the longtime ruler, most of the roughly 500 members of the "Lions of the Wadi" brigade -- who had converted an abandoned resort west of Sirte into their temporary headquarters -- packed up their belongings Friday and quietly drove home to Misrata.
Like many of the revolutionary fighters across Libya, these men aren't really soldiers. They are engineers, doctors, teachers, businessmen -- everyday people united by the common goal of ending Gadhafi's 42-year dictatorship.
For months, they battled better-trained, better-armed pro-Gadhafi forces, despite being hamstrung by a lack of organization and training on heavy weaponry. Then, with the help of NATO airstrikes, revolutionaries managed the seemingly impossible -- toppling Gadhafi's four-decade regime.
Where are Gadhafi's assets?
Libyans celebrate in front of White House
The next chapter in the Arab Spring
Where the men diverged was in their accounts of what led to Gadhafi's death.
Their stories include Gadhafi dying from injuries sustained in an airstrike to Gadhafi getting killed in a crossfire. But some fighters did not contest the notion that Gadhafi may have been executed -- possibly with his own gun.
Regardless of what or who truly killed Gadhafi, many fighters claimed involvement in his capture. Throngs descended on the area after Sirte -- Gadhafi's hometown -- fell to the revolutionaries, and each of a dozen fighters took credit for playing a role.
As the pro-Gadhafi fighters' defeat seemed imminent, small piles of their green army uniforms were found discarded.
But amid widespread jubilation that was relayed across the world, some scenes of war still emerged.
Several Gadhafi loyalists were slung in the backs of pickup trucks and paraded around Sirte. One loyalist, mangled with injuries, was taunted by some revolutionaries.
But many fighters who celebrated the end of Gadhafi simply said they wanted to get back to their families, their old jobs or their studies.
By midday Friday, only a few dozen remained near Sirte. After morning prayers, they packed up and got ready to go home to Misrata -- a city torn apart by the Libyan war that, like the rest of the country, faces an arduous recovery ahead.
Journalist Ben Farmer reported from the outskirts of Sirte; CNN's Holly Yan from Atlanta.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:23 PM EDT, Thu October 20, 2011
CNN's John Vause looks back at the rise and fall of mercurial Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was killed on Thursday.
updated 6:50 PM EDT, Thu October 20, 2011
Libyan students studying in London gather in front of the Libyan embassy and celebrate Gadhafi's death.
updated 7:13 AM EDT, Fri October 21, 2011
Brian Flynn, the brother of a victim of the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Scotland, says Moammar Gadhafi's death is justice long delayed.
updated 4:28 PM EDT, Thu October 20, 2011
CNN's Errol Barnett reports on the global social media reaction to Moammar Gadhafi's death.
updated 3:40 PM EDT, Thu October 20, 2011
After months of fighting between rebels and pro-Gadhafi forces, deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been killed.
updated 4:45 PM EDT, Thu October 20, 2011
The death of Moammar Gadhafi is not the game-changer many would like it to be, writes Brookings' Shadi Hamid
Fareed Zakaria on Gadhafi's fate: "He had always been a fighter -- romantic, mad, crazy -- so I always suspected he would go down fighting"
updated 1:02 PM EDT, Thu October 20, 2011
Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is seen in what may be his final moments as he is captured by rebel forces.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu October 20, 2011
Over four decades in power in Libya, Moammar Gadhafi portrayed himself as the leader of a united Africa and the "king of kings" of his oil-rich desert nation.
From first taking power in 1969 to appearances in Tripoli this summer, take a look at Gadhafi over the past few decades
updated 8:10 AM EDT, Wed October 5, 2011
The African stage once belonged to Moammar Gadhafi, nicknamed the "king of kings of Africa" by fellow leaders.
updated 3:07 PM EDT, Thu October 20, 2011
Fighting in Libya started with anti-government demonstrations in February and escalated into a civil war.
updated 10:24 PM EDT, Thu October 20, 2011
Reactions to the reported death of deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has started to trickle in from around the world.
updated 5:45 AM EDT, Fri October 21, 2011
Dictators around the Middle East should pay close attention to the fate of Moammar Gadhafi, opposition activists from Syria and Yemen say.