The dead bodies of Muammar Gaddafi (front) and his son Mo'tassim are displayed inside a metal storage freezer in Misrata October 22, 2011. (Reuters)

The remains of Libya’s slain dictator, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, his son Mutassim and a former aide were buried secretly in a desert at the dawn of Tuesday.

A source in Libya’s National Transitional Council, told the Al Jazeera TV network that members of Gaddafi’s tribe were present to say prayers to mark the burial.

Their corpses were reportedly moved on Monday from the commercial freezer in a Misrata warehouse that had served as a makeshift morgue in anticipation of the burial.

The three men were reportedly buried in unmarked graves in a secret desert location to avoid vandalism or the place becoming a shrine.

However Salem al-Mohandes, a security guard at the warehouse complex where Gaddafi, his son and aide were kept, said the bodies were taken away on Monday evening, where they had been on display for the past four days.

“Our job is finished. He [Gaddafi] was transferred and the military council of Misrata took him away to an unknown location. I don’t know whether they buried him or not,”Mr al-Mohandes said.

Associated Press reported seeing three vehicles leave the warehouse area late on Monday. On entering the freezer, it was then found to be empty.

NTC fighters had put Gaddafi’s body on show in a cold store while they argued over what to do with it after the fallen dictator was battered and shot dead last Thursday.

“He will be buried in a simple burial with sheikhs attending the burial.

“It will be an unknown location in the open desert. The corpse cannot last any longer, an official told Reuters.

The killing of Gaddafi, 69, in his hometown of Sirte brought to a close eight months of war and ending a nervous two-month hiatus since the rebel forces of the NTC overran the capital Tripoli.

NTC officials had tried to negotiate with Gaddafi’s tribal kinsmen from Sirte over where and how to dispose of the bodies.

“No agreement was reached for his tribe to take him,” an official said.

The NTC appeared to have decided that an anonymous grave would at least ensure the plot did not become a shrine.

The death of Gaddafi triggered mass rejoicing in Benghazi, the seat of the revolt.

However, it also highlighted a lack of central control over disparate armed groups, and the negotiation for power among local commanders as negotiations began in earnest to form an interim government.

Video showing Gaddafi son’s Mutassim alive – talking to the rebels