* Gaddafi govt said the collision was an accident
* Families of victims say crash was not an accident
* Families commemorate 19th anniversary for the first time
* Victims buried in a mass grave
By Taha Zargoun
TRIPOLI, Dec 28 Families of the victims of
a Libyan Airlines plane that collided with a combat jet 19 years
ago demanded the new Libyan government reinvestigate the crash
that killed 157 people on Dec. 22, 1992.
Muammar Gaddafi's government said at the time the mid air
collision, which took place when a Libyan MiG warplane rammed
into flight LN1103 as it approached Tripoli, was an accident.
The pilots of the combat plane ejected, but none of the
airliner's passengers and crew survived.
The families said they grew suspicious when the security
forces immediately intervened and buried the bodies in a mass
grave in a cemetery close to the crash site.
Felicity Prazak, the widow of Victor Charles Prazak, an oil
worker who was aboard the Benghazi-Tripoli flight, believes the
collision was not an accident.
"It was like a cover up, they buried them so quickly, they
didn't want us to know what happened on this flight," said
Prazak as she stood last week near the mass grave site in Sedi
al-Saieh, south of Tripoli, along with her son Theo, 23, and
daughter Tallena, 22.
"I was not allowed to come to the funeral ... and I
struggled for 19 years to find out (what happened)," she said.
The family flew from London to commemorate the crash's 19th
anniversary, but they were not alone.
Nearly 200 Libyans surrounded the mass grave which was
fenced with metal railings and covered with a cement slab. The
names of the victims were engraved on two marble panels at one
side of the grave.
Some held framed pictures of the victims, gazing vacantly at
the grave site, soaked in rain, as they wept.
"I have been to the grave but it has been on my own 10 years
ago with my children," Prazak said. "Now I am here with the
unity of the Libyan people and we are fighting to expose what
Gaddafi's 42-year dictatorship was brought to an end after a
nine-month civil war supported by NATO air strikes. Libyans can
now speak openly about Gaddafi's repressive actions.
It was the first time the families of the flight victims
were allowed to gather at the site in such numbers and conduct a
Most of the victims were Libyans along with 21 Egyptians and
19 from other mostly unspecified nationalities.
Fathia al-Hamali, a Libyan who lost her mother, sister,
brother-in-law and niece in the crash, flew with her daughter
from Benghazi for the event.
"We want to open this file," she said. "What was the reason?
why did they kill innocent people?"
(Reporting by Taha Zargoun; Writing by Mahmoud Habboush)