Colombian women among Kadhafi fighters, rebels say
By Asmaa Elourfi for Magharebia in Benghazi – 23/06/11
Moamer Kadhafi's government is using Colombian mercenaries to fight revolutionary forces, according to Misrata residents.
The rebels alleged that they captured several Colombian women belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the early days of the Libyan uprising.
"We found women of Colombian origins and they were armed," said Mourad al-Misrati, an employee at the Central Hospital in Misrata. He explained that he participated in the arrest of one woman, and that he later travelled to Benghazi to accompany a wounded friend seeking treatment in the rebel capital.
"One of the revolutionaries sneaked his way through the back stairs of the building and arrested her. The local council released her because she was a woman and after she promised to leave," al-Misrati said. "However, we were surprised with her returning to rooftops where she was targeting the revolutionaries again after she received weapons from Kadhafi's battalions. When she was arrested for the second time, she was placed at a special prison in Misrata with the other captives."
The revolutionaries said they were taken aback to discover that some of Kadhafi's snipers were women.
"There are a lot of women in Misrata who were recruited by Kadhafi to defend him," al-Misrati asserted. "It is said that he had brought them when they were little and trained them. They are loyal to him because he raised them. Therefore, they are prepared to die for him."
Youssef Afat, a journalist at a Misrata radio station, said that "five women snipers were arrested, two at Ben Salah apartment building and three at al-Taemeen apartment building. However, according to revolutionaries' sources, those who were arrested at Ben Salah apartment building were not armed; they were there just to satisfy the desires of soldiers who were there."
"But there were other women snipers like the three who were arrested at al-Taemeen," he said. "They were from Serbia, Columbia and Mali."
Steel plant employee Haitham al-Sahati was wounded in the clashes and also reported Colombian fighters in Misrata.
"We found 15 Colombian women snipers and 20 others from African countries. They were arrested at Tripoli Street while carrying weapons and ammunitions. The battalions were supplying them with weapons and food. At that time, Tripoli Street was under the control of the battalions," al-Sahati said.
He added, "However, they were arrested, and there were others who were killed in the battle. The rest were detained in a place in the city, but I don't know where it is. When I was wounded in an armed clash with the battalions, I was transferred to Misrata hospital. They then transferred me to Benghazi to receive treatment. Therefore, I don't know what happened to those ill-mannered women snipers."
But Benghazi resident Marwan al-Tashani said that there was no evidence of the claims. "There are no such women in Benghazi. It is said that they are members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which have been fighting the Colombian government since 1960."
The Colombian terror group has long-standing ties with the Kadhafi regime. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told German news magazine Der Spiegel in April that Kadhafi had offered FARC $300 million to buy weapons. He said he did not know if the group had ever received the funds.
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