Now Reading
Defector warns Libya could become 'new Somalia'

From the archive: This story is more than 10 years old.

Defector warns Libya could become 'new Somalia'

  • Musa Kusa speaks in Libya, March 21.
    magharebia/FlickrMusa Kusa speaks in Libya, March 21.

The most prominent defector from Muammar Gaddafi's regime has spoken for the first time since fleeing Libya to urge a halt to the conflict that he says could create "a new Somalia."

Former Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa, who has been in hiding since arriving in Britain last month, made his comments in a prepared statement given to the BBC.

"The unity of Libya is essential to any solution and settlement in Libya," he said, according to a translation provided by the broadcaster.

"I ask everybody, all the parties to work to avoid taking Libya into a civil war," Kusa said. "This will lead to bloodshed and make Libya a new Somalia."

Kusa, who was questioned by Scottish prosecutors about the Lockerbie bombing last week, also spoke of his relationship with Britain, describing it as an ally in tackling terrorism.

"We worked together against terrorism and we succeeded. We worked together to avoid terrorism and we worked together to dismantle weapons of mass destruction. It is a great job, it is great work and it makes the world safer," he said.

Officials in Tripoli dismissed the former spy chief's comments, saying they were being made under duress.

"I will not comment on anything he says while he is captured and hostage in a hostile country," Libyan Social Affairs Minister Ibrahim Zarouk al-Sharif told reporters.

Kusa's statement came a day after opposition rebels in Libya rejected a peace road map negotiated by the African Union and agreed to by Gaddafi.

Rebel officials said the plan, which called for an immediate cease-fire and internationally-mediated talks, was unacceptable because it did not involve the removal of the Libyan leader and his family.

As fighting continued on the ground, France's foreign minister on Tuesday accused NATO of failing to protect civilians by destroying heavy weaponry used by Gaddafi's forces.

"NATO must play its role fully. It wanted to take the lead in operations, we accepted that," Alain Juppe told France Info radio.

"It must play its role today which means preventing that Gaddafi uses heavy weapons to bomb

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

Read more about

libya, muammar gaddafi, musa kusa, somalia

— 30 —

Top headlines

Best in Internet Exploder