The death of toppled Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was Thursday hailed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron as a step towards a “strong and democratic future” for the north African country.
Gaddafi died this morning as rebel troops overran the final pockets of fighters loyal to the former regime in his home-town of Sirte.
His death was announced by the Prime Minister of the country’s National Transitional Council government Mahmoud Jibril, who told a press conference in capital Tripoli: “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed.”
Speaking in Downing Street moments after Jibril officially confirmed the dictator’s death, Cameron told reporters he was “proud” of the role Britain played in Nato airstrikes to protect Libyan civilians after the uprising against Gaddafi’s rule began in February.
And he said today was a time to remember Gaddafi’s victims, including those who died when Pan-Am flight 103 was bombed over Lockerbie, British policewoman Yvonne Fletcher who was gunned down in a London street and all those killed by the IRA using Semtex explosives supplied by Libya.
“We should also remember the many, many Libyans who died at the hands of this brutal dictator and his regime. People in Libya today have an even greater chance, after this news, of building themselves a strong and democratic future. I’m proud of the role that Britain has played in helping them to bring that about and I pay tribute to the bravery of the Libyans who have helped to liberate their country.”
“We will help them, we will work with them and that is what I want to say today”, Cameron went on.
Mahmud Nacua, the charge d’affaires at the Libyan embassy in London, said: “It is a glorious and momentous victory against the tyranny of Muammar Gaddafi, his sons and cronies. Today, Thursday October 20, we are told that Gaddafi is dead. The Libyan freedom fighters have finally succeeded in drawing the curtain on Gaddafi crimes. Their brave actions have spared Libya and the world from any further suffering of his evils. Today Libya’s future begins. Gaddafi’s black era has come to an end forever. The Libyan people are looking forward to a very promising future where they can finally start building their free, democratic and just state for which they have fought for about eight months. Our people have paid a high price. About 40,000 martyrs have given their souls and their lives for the freedom of their country. We appreciate very much the help of the international community to get rid of Gaddafi and his crimes.” He said the next step was to build a “new Libya”.