Agence France-Presse

Omran Ben Shaaban, man who captured Gaddafi, dies in hospital

Friends and relatives of Omran Ben Shabaan remove his coffin upon its arrival at the Misrata International Airport on September 25, 2012 in Misrata, Libya.

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Omran Ben Shaaban, a 22-year-old Libyan man thought to be instrumental in capturing Muammar Gaddafi, died today after being beaten by the former dictator’s supporters.

Kidnappers abducted Shaaban and three others in July near the Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid, The Associated Press reported.

Rebels credit Shaaban with helping find Gaddafi as he hid in a drainage ditch last October during the Arab Spring uprising in Libya.

Shaaban had been hospitalized in France.

Libya’s National Congress said police and the armed forces are authorized to use force to bring Shaaban’s captors to justice, the AP said.

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Kidnappers shot Shaaban in the neck and stomach during an escape attempt, his brother Walid Ben Shaaban told AFP.

GNC president Mohammed Megaryef helped negotiate Shaaban’s freedom after almost two months, AFP said.

A private plane flew Shaaban’s body back to his hometown of Misrata today where crowds awaited.

Misrata and Bani Walid are traditional rivals that fell on opposite sides of the uprising against Gaddafi.

Tensions in the area remain heightened.

“We will give the authorities an opportunity to tackle the issue, but if they fail to act, we know how to make our move,” Walid Ben Shaaban, who commands a militia of former rebels, told AFP.

The GNC hailed Shaaban as a hero.

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