afrol News, 2 March - Libyan revolutionaries and human rights group insist "mercenaries" from Chad are playing a vital role in the fighting. Chadian sources vehemently deny this, pointing to "naturalised Libyans."
Ali Zeidan, spokesman of the exiled Libyan Human Rights League (LHRL), today repeated his strong allegations against alleged "mercenaries" being key to defend the Ghaddafi regime.
According to Mr Zeidan, the proper government of Chad is playing a role in providing "mercenaries" to Colonel Ghaddafi through the overland route to the regime-controlled oasis town of Sabha.
"Two Chadian generals are commanding the mercenaries," Mr Zeidan claimed. According to the normally well informed human rights activist, there were around 3,000 "mercenaries" stationed in Tripoli and another 3,000 in towns and cities close to the Libyan capital. These alleged mercenary troops were key in hunting down and slaughtering protesters, the LHRL claims.
The Chadian government on two occasions has vehemently denied these claims. One week ago, the N'djamena Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement said that "Chadians are not sent or recruited in Chad to serve as mercenaries in Libya," adding that reports about Chadian mercenaries were "likely to cause serious physical and material harm to Chadians residing in Libya."
As the claims of a key role of "Chadian mercenaries" in Libya are gaining in force, a new, even more forceful statement was issued by the Foreign Affairs Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat of Chad today.
"These are outrageous and malicious report. The Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is protesting against these serious charges, whose consequences could be dire for thousands of Chadians living in the territory of Libya," Foreign Minister Mahamat said.
"Chad has never sent or authorised the recruitment of its nationals in order to fight in Libya. Chad can not afford such a gesture, as we are concerned about the situation in our neighbouring country," the Chadian government statement concluded.
For once, even most Chadian opposition groups within and outside the country support their government. The
African stopped in his car by Libyan vigilante groups, accusing him of being a mercenary
Chadian opposition media 'Al Wihda' today elaborated that reports from Libya about Chadian mercenaries were unlikely, also referring to the "manhunt" against Chadians and other sub-Saharan Africans due to the mercenary charges.
"One hundred Chadians have been killed and many others are missing" in Libya, according to information received by 'Al Wihda'.
The opposition media recalls that in the 1970s, and especially after the Chadian dictatorship in 1982, Chadians had poured into Libya to seek refuge. "There are an estimated 800,000 persons of Chadian origin in Libya, including tens of thousands with a Libyan passport, out of which an estimated 2,000 serve in the Libyan army," according to 'Al Wihda'.
But today, interim authorities in "liberated Libya" even stepped up the anti-African rhetoric. Spokesman Hafiz Ghoga of the National Libyan Council claimed that, in addition to Chad, Niger, Mali and Kenya had sent regular troops to support the Ghaddafi regime, with the "support from the Algerian government." The Council urged the UN to bomb the "African mercenaries of Ghaddafi."
As the dispute over possible Chadian and other African mercenaries goes on, there are increased number of reports about a witch-hunt of sub-Saharan Africans in "liberated Libya", with arbitrary arrests of African-looking persons and occasional lynch mobs killing Africans.
But there are also an increased number of reports seemingly confirming the existence of some African mercenaries in Libya. One serious report indicates the systematic attempt to recruit Tuaregs - the main nomad people of the Sahara desert - for the Ghaddafi regime. Libya's south-western Fezzan region, which is firmly in the regime's hands, is dominated by the Tuareg people, as is northernmost Chad.
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