Relatives of those slain in the Lockerbie bombing have reacted angrily to the news of Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa’s defection to the UK.
Koussa, who flew to Farborough airport from Tunisia on Wednesday night is widely believed to have been behind the 1988 bombing which brought down Pan Am Flight Flight 103 over the town of Lockerbie killing a total of 270, both on the plane and on the ground.
Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein, whose husband Michael was on the flight told Sky News: “My concern is that he is going to be let off the hook. I hope he has to look over his shoulder for the rest of his pitiful, disgusting life.”
“I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or throw up. He’s Libya’s big bad wolf – I don’t believe he’s suddenly turned vegetarian.”
Frank Duggan, president of the Victims of Pan Am 103 group, commented: “He should not be treated as a witness but as part of the criminal enterprise that brought down the plane.”
“He knows who ordered it, who made the bomb, who paid for it, who transported it to Malta and how it was put on the plane. He knows the details of (bomber) Megrahi’s release from the Scottish prison, including the role of the British officials.”
As the highest ranking official from Gaddafi’s government, Koussa could potentially provide the Allies with invaluable insight into Gaddafi’s crumbing regime allowing them to help the rebels unseat the dictator from his 41-year rule.
However the UK government denied striking any sort of immunity deal with Koussa.
“Moussa Koussa is not being offered any immunity from British or international justice,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters.
Meanwhile, defected immigration minister Ali Errishi told France 24 television that Kousa’s defection was a “sign that the regime’s days are numbered,”
“It is the end… it is a blow to the regime (and) others will follow,”
“Koussa was his most trusted aide. Gaddafi no longer has anybody. It’s just him and his kids.”
These observations come as Gaddafi’s heavily armed forces continue to pound cities in the east in a bid to recapture towns from the rebels.
Increasingly the Allies are facing up to the prospect that the UN-mandated air-strikes and no-fly-zone will have limited impact in helping the inexperienced, ill-equipped rebels and are also considering providing them with arms and training.
American officials revealed earlier this week that CIA agents have already been in Libya for weeks to gather intelligence make contact with the rebels fighting against Colonel Gaddafi.