QADDAFI’S COMPOUND BAB AL-AZIZIYA TO BECOME ‘LIBYAN AMUSEMENT PARK AND PLEASURE GARDEN’

Astonishing: This teapot and teacups fairground ride was just one of sites that greeted insurgents inside Gaddafi's compound. They also found a zoo

Gaddafi’s compound at Bab al-Aziziya to be ‘transformed into Libyan amusement park and pleasure garden’

  • Colonel Gaddafi lived a life of opulence and surreal fantasy in the compound
  • But the site, in Tripoli, was overrun and plundered when he was overthrown
  • It has lain in ruins ever since Gaddafi was killed in 2011 by an angry mob
  • Tourism minister says it will be ‘a place of entertainment for Libyan families’

By Matt Blake Daily Mail  19 July 2013

Colonel Gaddafi lived a life of opulence and surreal fantasy within the walls of Bab al-Aziziya while his subjects cowered under his bloodthirsty rule.

But the vast site, in Tripoli, was overrun and plundered during the uprising that saw the dictator overthrown and later beaten to death by an angry mob.

And soon an arena of family fun and frolics will rise from the ruins of this once lavish pleasure palace that for decades represented fear and oppression to millions of Libyans across the country.

Astonishing: This teapot and teacups fairground ride was just one of sites that greeted insurgents inside Gaddafi's compound. They also found a zooAstonishing: This teapot and teacups fairground ride was just one of sites that greeted insurgents inside Gaddafi’s compound. They also found a zoo

 

Sofa so good: Rebel fighter poses for a photo as he sits on a two-seater couch in Gaddafi's compound

Sofa so good: A rebel fighter poses for a photo as he sits on a two-seater couch

 

‘The work to clear away the rubble from the ruins of Bab al-Aziziya, which was a black spot in Tripoli and a source of concern for residents, has begun,’ the minister told AFP.

‘This space will be transformed into a green area and an amusement park as a place of entertainment for Libyan families,’ she added.

After the rebel fighters had overrun the tyrant’s massive sprawling compound in 2011, it became the turn of normally law-abiding Libyans to ransack and loot his properties. And they could scarcely believe what they saw.

One group of young men chose to tour the Bab al-Aziziya compound in the dictator’s preferred mode of transport  – the very same electric golf buggy he rode in to rest his 72-year-old legs.

 
Luxury: Rebel fighters and civilians walk near the huge swimming pool Luxury: Rebel fighters and civilians stroll around the huge swimming pool

 

 
A rebel holds aloft a trophy taken from Gaddafi's homeA man poses among a series of munitions at the compound
 
 

Trophy from his visit: This man carries a cup out of the Gaddafi compound while another man stands among a collection of decommissioned munitions inside the residence

 

Even as they made their way through the shattered buildings, they could see for themselves sufficient remnants of the bizarre Michael Jackson-style Neverland park, complete with fairground and zoo, that Gaddafi constructed in the heart of the capital city.

First there were the creature comforts.

In one of his palaces, expensive murals and art work hung from the walls and rooms were filled with replica 14th century furniture.

Vast bathrooms with bidets and sunken baths adjoined most sleeping quarters.

At the centre of the compound is the ‘House of Resistance’, Gaddafi’s former residence which was partially destroyed by a U.S. bombing raid in 1986.

Now it is a mausoleum, its furniture preserved untouched for 25 years within glass casing as a reminder of the attack.

If there was any morsel of sympathy to be gleaned for Gaddafi, it was from the ghostly bedroom of his adopted daughter Hana, who was only a few months old when she was killed in the raid.

 
Smashed: These glass cases protected the bed of Gaddafi's adopted daughter Hana, whose bedroom was a shrine following her death during a 1986 U.S. air strikeSmashed: These glass cases protected the bed of Gaddafi’s adopted daughter Hana, whose bedroom was a shrine following her death during a 1986 U.S. air strike

 

 

 
Trashed: Debris from reproduction furniture litters one of dictator's palaces within the compoundTrashed: Debris from reproduction furniture litters one of dictator’s palaces within the compound

 
 
Ransacked: Despite rebels at the gate imploring them not to loot the palaces, many of them ignored their warningsRansacked: Despite rebels at the gate imploring them not to loot the palaces, many of them ignored their warnings

Debris: The looters at the compound took items including bedding, curtains and sheets, only leaving behind items they either did not want, or couldn't carryDebris: The looters at the compound took items including bedding, curtains and sheets, only leaving behind items they either did not want, or couldn’t carry

There also appeared to be a shrine in honour of the little girl – a set of missiles ‘hung’, perhaps inappropriately, from the ceiling as though just fired from American jets.

The man with the golden gun: This man seized the prized weapon from Gaddafi's compoundThe man with the golden gun: This man seized the prized weapon from Gaddafi’s compound

Not far from a cluster of buildings used by Gaddafi’s family as sleeping quarters was a cinema where he would join his family to watch the latest western movies.

The most outlandish sight in this whole bizarre fantasyland was the fairground in the gardens.

It featured an old-fashioned carousel, with children’s seats on chains, and a roundabout decked out with a cartoon-style teapot and spinning cups for youngsters to play in.

Some rebels could not resist posing for pictures in the giant teacup rides and laughing with incredulity that the dictator had taken flight from his own compound.

But one could only stare in disbelief at this theme park within a warzone.

He snorted: ‘Libyan children have no childhood, their lives are destroyed by Gaddafi. But his children, his family, have everything.’

As if all this wasn’t enough, Gaddafi had also used some of the estimated £300billion he has plundered from the country to build a zoo, stocked with animals supplied by fellow African dictators.

Amid chaotic scenes, as snipers loyal to Gaddafi took pot shots at the looters from high buildings around the compound, people grabbed at anything they could get – sheets, bedding, curtains and whatever else was once owned by Gaddafi.

 
Vast: Almost every room in the palace had an adjoining bathroom with bidets and bathsVast: Almost every room in the palace had an adjoining bathroom with bidets and baths

 

 

 

 
Expensive: The walls of Gaddafi's palaces were covered in artwork and murals such as thisExpensive: The walls of Gaddafi’s palaces were covered in artwork and murals such as this

 

Rebels at the gate implored them not to pillage or destroy the palace, saying it should be kept for the Libyan people.

But they could not resist stripping the compound of everything they could carry, including Gaddafi’s home cinema system, his table football games and a stereo.

 

 

‘Libyan children have no childhood, their lives are destroyed by Gaddafi. But his children, his family, have everything.’

A boy of ten struggled under the weight of his raided booty – a replica gun, a satellite television receiver and other spoils he carried in a suitcase he had taken.

A soldier yelled at him to stop, but others shouted him down, saying: ‘Let him take what he wants, it belongs to him.’

Others proudly held aloft the dictator’s ‘blingy’ artefacts, including jewellery and a gold-plated gun.

They also tore down a massive Bedouin tent, where the tyrant liked to sleep during the hot summer months (and before Nato started raining bombs on his compound).

It had been erected in world capitals during trade visits after supposedly renouncing violence in 2003.  While one tent was torn down, another – even bigger in scale – was set on fire and razed to the ground.

 
Snap happy: Rebel fighters and civilians browse through Gaddafi's photo albumsSnap happy: Rebel fighters and civilians browse through Aisha Gaddafi’s photo albums

 
Not alone: Rebels also went through the belongs of Gaddafi's daughter Aisha yesterday, as well as posing for photos inside her home Not alone: Rebels also went through the belongs of Gaddafi’s daughter Aisha yesterday, as well as posing for photos inside her home

 
Looting: A pair of rebels go through the book cases of Aisha Gaddafi at her home in TripoliLooting: A pair of rebels go through the book cases of Aisha Gaddafi at her home in Tripoli

 
 
Say cheese! A rebel poses for a photo on an ornate chair inside Aisha Gaddafi's homeSay cheese! A rebel poses for a photo on an ornate chair inside Aisha Gaddafi’s home

 
Relaxed: The rebel fighters have made themselves at home in Gaddafi's compoundRelaxed: The rebel fighters have made themselves at home

 
Picture perfect: Rebel fighters take a closer look at Aisha Gaddafi's photographsPicture perfect: Rebel fighters take a closer look at Aisha Gaddafi’s photographs

Some spat on the ground as they entered the previously-forbidden zone, but others simply wanted to rejoice at their symbolic victory over a man who had brutally controlled their lives for so long.

University student Nidal, 20, said: ‘I never thought I would see inside this place. I will tell my grandchildren of this day.’

Holding up one of Gaddafi’s personal photo albums, a group of women flicked through the pages of Gaddafi alongside world leaders.

‘I can’t believe we are here!’ cried Falima, 23, whose father disappeared almost a decade ago after being caught speaking out against the regime. ‘He had everything he needed – and you people, from the west, helped him stay in power until you saw sense.’

 
Taking a look round: This group of Tripoli residents could hardly believe their eyes when they entered Gaddafi's compound yesterdayTaking a look round: This group of Tripoli residents could hardly believe their eyes when they entered Gaddafi’s compound yesterday

 
Try these for size: These two rebels examine clothes they want which belong to members of the dictator's familyTry these for size: These two rebels examine clothes they want which belong to members of the dictator’s family

 

 
The rebels look through photo albums belonging to family while they also took other itemsThe rebels look through photo albums belonging to family while they also took other items

 

But, even in defeat, Gaddafi is not finished killing. As liberated Libyans cavorted around the complex, loyalist gunmen opened fire and mortar shells rained down inside Gaddafi’s lair.

Such is the vast scale of the compound – 2.4 square miles in its entirety – that while looters were joyfully running amok in some areas, in another part rebels were engaged all day in a fierce gunfight with Gaddafi loyalists guarding the tunnels.

As people ran for their lives, the barrage was a clear sign that the end of the war may be near, but the battles go on.

 

‘I never thought I would see inside this place. I will tell my grandchildren of this day.’

Rebel fighters believe the attack was part of a deliberate strategy to prevent them from entering the 2,000-mile tunnel network Gaddafi constructed underneath his complex.

Amid fears of booby traps, and with loyal members of Gaddafi’s bodyguard unit firing from the entrances, the rebels were last night still engaged in fierce gun battles as they tried to follow the fleeing dictator.

So where has he gone?

Some believe the tunnels lead all the way to Sirte, Gaddafi’s birthplace stronghold 200 miles to the east, and the location of a stockpile of 200 Scud missiles, many of them armed with chemical warheads.

As rebels fought to gain entrance to the tunnels, amid claims that Gaddafi’s retreating forces were trying to destroy each section they passed through to prevent any pursuit, their comrades were rushing in armed vehicles to Sirte, hoping to catch the dictator should he come up for air there.

 
The tent where Blair met Gaddafi met Blair was on show yesterday
 
Suspicion was growing last night that Gaddafi had fled to Sirte

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2370213/Gaddafis-Neverland-Fairground-rides-zoo-shrine-dead-daughter-Inside-tyrants-bizarre-lair.html#ixzz2ZUiNvCVr
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