News / Africa

Libya: Gadhafi has History of Using Mercenaries

Joe DeCapua

There have been numerous reports that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is using mercenaries to try to quell the unrest in his country.  It wouldn’t be the first time he’s employed outside fighters.

Retired army Lt. Col. Robert Brown is editor and publisher of Soldier of Fortune Magazine.  It reports on what it calls “news and adventure.”  The magazine’s editorial policy is stated as pro-military, pro-strong U.S. defense, pro-police and pro-veteran.

Brown says Mr. Gadhafi has a history of using mercenaries.

“You’ve had Gadhafi employing mercenaries way back in the late 70s, when he had Americans, when he had employed two notorious individuals – Frank Terpil and Ed Wilson - who served as advisors to him.  And they had brought in a number under false pretenses, I do believe, Americans that had been discharged, or some which were actually on active duty taking leave working for him.  It became quite a scandal back then.  So, it’s not something unusual,” he says.

Both Terpil and Wilson were former CIA agents accused of many crimes, including illegal arms dealing.

Not all mercenaries alike

Brown says mercenaries are easy to be found in Africa.

“Africa is a very open ground, if you will, for recruiting.  You had a lot of your South African soldiers, after the apartheid government fell, serving in Executive Outcomes, which actually did a very good job in suppressing the RUF (Revolutionary United Front) in Sierra Leone.  You had a lot of Chadians I think that are now with Gadhafi’s forces,” he says.

Brown says mercenaries can be motivated by any number of things to fight, including adventure and especially money.  But he says not all mercenaries are alike.

“Well, it’s hard to say what their level of training is,” he says, “whether they’re just thugs that can go around and beat people as an irregular force or whether they’ve been trained.  This I don’t think anybody knows.  And certainly their effectiveness is going to be predicated on what type of training they have and what their capabilities are.  Certainly, it doesn’t take a great deal of training to go around and beat civilians or shoot civilians.”

He says they do know that if they are caught by the opposition that their lives are at stake.  And if reports from Libya are true, suspected mercenaries have not been treated kindly.

He says there can be a big difference between those called mercenaries and those called contractors, like those we’ve seen in Iraq working on behalf of the U.S.

Brown says, “People that Gadhafi has certainly don’t have the training or the capabilities as the people who’ve been hired as contractors.  Because whether you approve or disapprove of contractors, it’s been my experience that these people for the most part are very well trained, or they wouldn’t be hired.”

Robert Brown has been the editor of Soldier of Fortune Magazine since its founding 35 years ago.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid