Scottish police to discuss action against Musa Kusa

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The Independent Online

Scottish police and prosecutors are to meet Foreign Office officials to discuss Libyan defector Musa Kusa.

Representatives of the Crown Office and Dumfries and Galloway Police will attend talks in London tomorrow as part of the ongoing investigation into the Lockerbie bombing.

They asked to interview Muammar Gaddafi's former intelligence chief and foreign minister about the atrocity earlier this week.

But a Crown Office spokesman said they were unable to comment on the nature of the discussions, as the police investigation is still live.

A spokesman said: "I can confirm that representatives of the Crown Office and Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary have been in close contact with FCO officials over recent days and will be meeting with them on Monday to discuss the situation concerning Mr Musa Kusa further.

"As the investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 remains live, and in order to preserve the integrity of that investigation, it would not be appropriate at this time to offer any further comment on the nature of those discussions or the detail of ongoing inquiries."

Kusa arrived in Britain on Wednesday night, claiming he had defected from Libya.

Before becoming foreign minister in 2009, he had been head of Colonel Gaddafi's feared intelligence agency since 1994 and was a senior intelligence agent at the time of the December 1988 Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people were killed.

He is believed to have played a key role in securing the release of the only man convicted over the incident, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said on Friday there is "every reason" to believe that Kusa can "shed light on the Lockerbie atrocity and the circumstances that led up to it".

The inquiry into the bombing has remained open.

The Boeing 747 jumbo jet was en route from London to New York when it was blown out of the sky over the Dumfriesshire town.

Some 243 passengers, 16 crew and 11 residents of the town were killed and debris from the aircraft was spread over 845 square miles between Lockerbie and the North Sea.

Megrahi was convicted at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands in 2001 but released from jail in August 2009 on compassionate grounds after the Scottish Government was told he had only three months to live.

Meanwhile, a Nato air strike intended to thwart Gaddafi's forces killed 13 rebel fighters in eastern Libya, the opposition said.

Opposition spokesman Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga said the "unfortunate accident" was a "mistake" caused by the rebels' advance during the coalition's attack.

He added: "Now the military leadership that has been organised more effectively recently is working on preventing the recurrence of these accidents."

Two men badly injured in the strike said it happened at about 8pm on Friday after somebody fired heavy weaponry into the air as a rebel convoy made its way from Ajdabiya towards Brega.

Nato spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the alliance was investigating the reports.

"The exact details are hard to verify because we have no reliable source on the ground," Ms Lungescu said. "Clearly, if someone fires at one of our aircraft they have the right to defend themselves."