Libyan pilot tells of Chad raids

A captured Libyan pilot said here he led a 12-plane squadron of Soviet-built Sukhoi-22 fighter-bombers during daily raids on Chad's northern oasis town of Faya-Largeau.

When questioned by the press, Maj. Abdel-Salem Muhammad Charfedin said he had flown between 40 and 50 missions over Faya-Largeau, dropping both 500- and 250 -kilogram bombs and napalm. He said his squadron of SU-22s was based on the Aozou Strip in northern Chad, a territory Libya annexed from Chad 10 years ago. Major Charfedin said Col. Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, had spent a few days last week in the Aouzou strip.

Libya has repeatedly denied being involved in the six-week civil war alongside the rebels. The pilot's statement was seen here as the most striking evidence to the contrary yet.

Recent reports from reliable Chadian and Western officials indicate that the Libyan air bombardments have decreased in intensity in the past 24 hours, Monitor contributor Gary Marx reports. But one Western official commented, ''The Libyans are continuing to move a substantial amount of arms and other military equipment into the Faya-Largeau area in what appears to be preparation for a major attack.''

Meanwhile, Libya ordered its Air Force to attack American early-warning AWACS planes if they interfere in Libyan ''territory,'' the Libyan news agency Jana said. President Reagan had ordered the dispatch of two AWACS planes to Africa last week to monitor Libyan air activities in northern Chad.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.