Scots police quiz Libyan defector over Lockerbie
POLICE investigating the Lockerbie bombing yesterday met Libyan defector Moussa Koussa, it was confirmed last night.
The former foreign minister, pictured below, who fled to the UK last week, is believed to have been an intelligence officer at the time of the 1988 atrocity in which 270 people were killed.
There has been intense speculation about the knowledge he may hold regarding Libya's role in the bombing.
Scottish police and prosecutors requested an interview with him at a meeting with Foreign Office officials on Monday.
A statement issued by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) last night said: "We can confirm that officers of Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary, supported by COPFS, today met Mr Moussa Koussa in relation to the ongoing investigation into the Lockerbie bombing."
He added: "As the investigation remains live, and in order to preserve the integrity of that investigation, it would not be appropriate at this time to offer any further details of the meeting or the details of ongoing inquiries."
The Foreign Office has previously said that Mr Koussa had not been offered immunity from prosecution but had not been arrested either, and had not been under any obligation to meet police, prosecutors or other officials.
The news of the interview came as a senior US general said that Libya's seven-week-old civil war is reaching stalemate, after rebels fighting to overthrow Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi said a Nato airstrike killed at least five of their fighters.
Wounded rebels being brought to a hospital in Ajdabiyah in rebel-held east Libya said they were hit by a Nato strike on their trucks and tanks outside the contested port of Brega.
Nato said it was investigating an attack by its aircraft on a tank column in the area along the Mediterranean coast, saying the situation was "unclear and fluid".
General Carter Ham, head of US Africa command, told a Senate hearing Washington should not provide arms to the rebels without a better idea of who they were.
Asked if there was an emerging stalemate, he replied: "I would agree with that at present, on the ground."
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The fighting for Brega, the only active front, has dragged on for a week and has entered a daily pattern of advances back and forth with neither side making major gains.
Medical workers carried blood-soaked uniforms from hospital rooms in Ajdabiyah, gateway to the insurgent stronghold of Benghazi in the east, after wounded fighters were ferried back from Brega.
"It was a Nato airstrike on us. We were near our vehicles near Brega," wounded fighter Younes Jumaa said from a stretcher at the hospital.
Nurse Mohamed Ali said at least five rebels were dead. Rebel fighters were weeping on their knees in the corridor.
It was the second time in less than a week that rebels had blamed Nato for bombing their comrades by mistake. Thirteen were killed in an airstrike not far from the spot on Saturday.
A doctor who had been at the front among rebel ambulance crews said they were hit by a government rocket attack immediately after the airstrike. One medical worker was killed.
Rebel discontent with Nato appears to be growing. Opposition commanders have complained in recent days that the airstrikes were coming too slowly and lacking the precision to give the rebels a clear edge. Nato officials say that the pro-Gaddafi troops have blended into civilian areas in efforts to frustrate the alliance's bombing runs.
Airstrikes have paradoxically caused the current combat stalemate, grounding Col Gaddafi's air force and preventing him from landing a knockout blow. However, the rag-tag rebel army is too undisciplined to press the advantage accorded by air power.
Rebel spokesmen said Col Gaddafi's forces killed five people and wounded 25 in an artillery bombardment of the isolated and besieged western city of Misrata on Wednesday.
The barrage forced the temporary closure of Misrata's port, a vital lifeline for supplies to besieged civilians, the spokesmen said. Misrata, Libya's third city, rose up with other towns against Col Gaddafi in mid-February and has been under siege for weeks .
Rebels say government attacks on three different installations in the east have halted production of the oil they desperately need to finance the uprising against Col Gaddafi. The government's deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaim told reporters the RAF had damaged an oil pipeline in a strike against the Sarir oilfield which killed three guards.
Nato denied the alliance carried out any air strikes in the Sarir area and said forces loyal to Col Gaddafi were to blame.
Last night, Turkey's prime minister Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara was working on a road map to end the war in Libya which would include a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Gaddafi's forces from some cities.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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