One of Lebanon Slaying Victims an American
American Peter Kilburn, a librarian at American University who was kidnaped 16 months ago, was one of three Westerners who were shot to death and dumped in the mountains east of Beirut to avenge the U.S. air attack on Libya, a university hospital official said today.
All three had at first been identified as Britons, but U.N. officials determined today that one of the corpses was that of Kilburn, not British writer Alec Collett.
Identification of Kilburn’s body was made nearly 32 hours after the pro-Libyan Arab Fedayeen Cells said they had killed the three men. A nephew of Kilburn in Aptos, Calif., said the State Department had confirmed that the body was Kilburn’s.
“We’re on our way to war, as far as I can see,” said Tim Kilburn. “The United States government’s answer to problems is to drop bombs.”
In Los Angeles, Collett’s son, David, said he was not relieved to learn that the dead man had turned out to be Kilburn--and that he believes at any rate that his 65-year-old writer father may have been hanged.
“The thing is, unfortunately, we think he’s been hung. We don’t know for sure. They have photographs but they haven’t come forth. I’m not convinced at all that he’s alive.”
The 27-year-old video salesman had said Thursday that the U.S. bombing of Libya was “a bloody, disgusting shame, and it cannot carry on like this.”
The other two victims were correctly identified Thursday as British schoolteachers John Leigh Douglas and Philip Padfield, who were kidnaped in predominantly Muslim West Beirut March 28.
Kilburn, 60, had been a librarian at American University for about 20 years when he was kidnaped in December, 1984. He had not been seen since. (Kilburn profile on Page 2.)
Libyan Role Charged
In London, Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe charged today that Libya was behind the kidnaping and murder of the two Britons and said he fears for the safety of two other Britons kidnaped in Beirut.
But he did not order an evacuation of British citizens from Lebanon, although the government advised more than 70 British nationals in Beirut to assume a “low profile.”