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Libyan soldiers sent home in disgrace after sexually assaulting men and women in Britain

More than 300 cadets have been based at Bassingbourn Barracks in Cambridgeshire since July after the UK pledged to train 2,000 over 15 months.

Libyan soldiers training in Britain are being sent home after five of them appeared in court accused of sex attacks.

Two of the troops, Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud, 33, and Ibrahim Abogutila, 22, have been charged with raping a man in his 20s in a park in Cambridge and been remanded in custody to face trial.

Three more Libyan cadets appeared before Cambridge Crown Court today charged with sex offences against women.

Naji El Maarfi, 20, has admitted two sexual assaults, indecent exposure and stealing a bike.

He has since been charged with a further sexual assault which he has yet to enter a plea to.

Mohammed Abdalsalam, 27, has admitted two sexual assaults, threatening behaviour towards a police officer and theft of a bike.

Khaled El Azibi, 18, has yet to enter a plea to three charges of sexual assault and one count of theft of a bicycle.

More than 300 cadets have been based at Bassingbourn Barracks in Cambridgeshire since July.

The UK pledged to train 2,000 cadets in a 15-month programme after playing a key role in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Soldiers from 3 Scots, the Black Watch, were teaching basic infantry skills. But due to disciplinary problems at the base last week troops from 2 Scots, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, had leave cancelled and were drafted in to help bring the trainees under control.

Andrew Lansley, Tory MP for South Cambridgeshire, called for the project to be scrapped.

He said: "At the time of our commitment - along with other G8 states - to support Libya and to help train the Libyan troops, I was supportive of this as a good use of the base, and to contribute further to Libya's development.

"So it is with regret that I must now say that it has not worked as we had hoped.

"It is clear that the stipulation that there was to be no unauthorised exit from the base has not been adhered to, and the consequences have been unacceptable.

"As I have today expressed to MoD, I now see no alternative but to terminate the contract and repatriate the trainees currently on the base.

"As this stands, no further groups of trainees could be brought here from Libya."

Reports today suggested 20 of the soldiers may be trying to claim asylum in the UK.

An MoD spokesman said: "Training was initially expected to last until the end of November but we have agreed with the Libyan government that it is best for all involved to bring forward the training completion date.

"The recruits will be returning to Libya in the coming days.

"And as part of our ongoing support for the Libyan government, we will review how best to train Libyan security forces - including whether training further tranches of recruits in the UK is the best way forward."

[Source: By Louie Smith and Virginia Newman, Mirror, London, 04Nov14]

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small logoThis document has been published on 06Nov14 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.