Libyans to leave UK after ‘attacks’

Published: Tuesday 4th November 2014 by The News Editor

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More than 300 Libyan soldiers training in the UK have been sent home early following allegations of a series of sex attacks.

Members of the country’s armed forces have been based at Bassingbourn Barracks in Cambridgeshire since July as part of the UK’s pledge to support the Libyan government.

The group had been due to return to their homeland at the end of the month but their stay has been cut short after five soldiers were accused of sex attacks.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said: ” The majority of recruits have responded positively to the training despite the ongoing political uncertainty in Libya but there have been disciplinary issues.

“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.

“The UK remains committed to supporting the Libyan government as it works to establish stability and security across the country.”

A spokesman added that the MoD would review how best to train Libyan security forces – including whether further recruits should be trained in the UK.

Libyan cadets Ibrahim Naji El Maarfi, 20, and Mohammed Abdalsalam, 27, appeared at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court last week and admitted two counts of sexual assault. They are awaiting sentencing.

Khaled El Azibi, 18, has been charged with three counts of sexual assault linked to the same incident but has yet to enter a plea.

Last night, Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud, 33, and Ibrahim Abogutila, 22, were charged with rape.

A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman said the charges relate to assaults on a man in Cambridge on Sunday.

They will appear before the city’s magistrates this morning.

The decision came after South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley wrote to the MoD to raise concerns.

Mr Lansley said: “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.”

He added that he saw no alternative but to terminate the contract, repatriate trainees currently at the base and for no further groups to brought here from Libya.

Published: Tuesday 4th November 2014 by The News Editor

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