France to send military advisers to Libya

France will send military advisers to the town of Benghazi in eastern Libya to coordinate measures to protect civilians with rebels, French government spokesman Francois Baroin said on Wednesday.

"These are a few units of advisers carrying out a liaison mission under the National [Transitional] Council. Their task is to ensure protection of the civilian population," Baroin told journalists in Paris.

No ground troops will be dispatched to the North African country, the French government said.

Britain said on Tuesday it was sending a group of military advisers to Benghazi to coordinate the actions of scattered rebel forces.

The National Transitional Council (NTC) is a political body formed by Libyan rebels. It has been recognized by France, Qatar and Italy.

Libyan opposition leaders say over 10,000 people have been killed by strongman Muammar Gaddafi's forces since the start of the conflict in the country in February.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, paving the way for a military operation against Gaddafi, which began two days later. The command of the operation was shifted from a U.S.-led international coalition to NATO in late March.

[Source: Ria Novosti, Paris, 20Apr11]

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