Warning: This site contains images and graphic descriptions of extreme violence and/or its effects. It's not as bad as it could be, but is meant to be shocking. Readers should be 18+ or a mature 17 or so. There is also some foul language occasionally, and potential for general upsetting of comforting conventional wisdom. Please view with discretion.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Confession in Benghazi

Mercenary Myths II
October 24, 2011
edits Oct. 26

Benghazi, February 25, Daily Mail: Outside the rebels were jubilant. Inside the court I came face to face with Gaddafi's savage mercenaries: RICHARD PENDLEBURY files this dramatic dispatch from Benghazi
They were a pretty sorry bunch, these ‘Gaddafi mercenaries’. Assembled for my inspection in a scruffy, whitewashed room on the top floor of the courthouse building in ‘free’ Benghazi, six West African men shuffled nervously under the stern gaze of Arab youths.

If they tried to speak they were told to shut up. You could smell their fear.

And no wonder. A few days ago the boot was on the other foot. These men are alleged to have been among several thousand foreign thugs and gunmen that Muammar Gaddafi sent against his own people, to kill and destroy and quell the uprising in eastern Libya.

On the evidence mercenaries - these or any - were used in Libya's second city, Pendlebury offered:
In the past week anti-aircraft cannon and shoulder-launched rockets were deployed at close range against civilians armed with stones. Mobs of Gaddafi thugs in plastic construction helmets – dubbed ‘yellow hats’ by the protesters – also killed with machetes and clubs.

Reliable medical sources told me that more than 1,000 people have died so far in Benghazi as a result of Gaddafi-orchestrated violence. Some were killed when funeral processions for earlier casualties were attacked by snipers.

That number sounds extremely high, especially if it's meant to include, as it would seem, only "protester" deaths. These funeral processions occurred, four days in a row, right against the main military base in the city. I agree that many participating were shot dead by government forces. Each day, the protests devolved into fights, with the insurgents better armed each day. On the 19th they were shooting lots of machine guns stolen from nearby, and on the 20th they blew the place open with a suicide bomber (hidden in the funeral procession) and started slaughtering the soldiers. This is where the deaths happened - they were enraged by the side-effect of their own rage. They stole all the weapons. That's what the soldiers were trying to prevent,as they would in any country. From a censored distance, we all cheered the victory.

And more to the point, none of these context-free dead people videos, wherever and however they the killing happened, prove that African mercenaries were responsible. Not when many have said so, but not a single one of these attacks, pivotal though they are, has been recorded and shared online.

The Mail was able to negotiate a brief meeting with some of the prisoners, with bearded authorities "worried that if the thousands of people still chanting victory slogans on the seafront were to know of their presence so close there would be a lynch mob." The location seems to be the city's main courthouse, soon to be the NTC government headquarters, and the scene of beheadings of alleged African mercenaries.
The Africans I saw ranged from a 20-year-old to one in his late 40s with a grizzled beard. Most were wearing casual clothes. When they realised I spoke English they burst out in protest.

‘We did not do anything,’ one told me, before he was silenced. ‘We are all construction workers from Ghana. We harmed no one.’

Another of the accused, a man in green overalls, pointed at the paint on his sleeves and said: ‘This is my job. I do not know how to shoot a gun.’

Abdul Nasser, a 47-year-old, protested: ‘They are lying about us. We were taken from our house at night when we were sleeping.’ Still complaining, they were led away. It was hard to judge their guilt.
Perhaps not so hard for everyone. That paint trick is pretty good. They probably teach it at mercenary school. Too bad it conflicted with the man who said "we are all construction workers." (I bold and insert that facetiously). They kept to their "cover-stories" until the rebels took them away to avoid poisoning the press with their nonsense. But one of them 'fessed up - to other people being bloodthirsty mercs - and was then pushed before Mr. Pendlebury as a sort of antidote.
Then I was shown a prisoner who was prepared to admit some part in the bloodshed.

A tough-looking young man in a black corduroy jacket, he would not give me his name, but admitted to being a 27-year-old member of Gaddafi’s presidential militia and having wounded one protester on the evening of February 19.

‘The African mercenaries put guns to our heads and forced us to open fire on the people,’ he claimed. ‘If someone refused then the mercenaries poured petrol over their head and set them alight. I saw this with my own eyes. I had to do what they said.’

The man said he was guarding the gates of the militia base in central Al Berka Square against stone throwing protesters when he shot one man in the leg at a distance of 50 metres.

‘He had stones in his hand,’ he said. ‘When he fell down he pulled himself up and gave the victory sign.’

How many people had he seen killed that night? About 40 members of the militia, executed by the mercenaries, he claimed. And what about the people they were shooting at? ‘More than a hundred,’ he admitted.

He claimed he had deliberately aimed only to wound and had fired over the crowds’ heads when the mercenaries were not present. He had not been able to sleep for the guilt at what he had done.

This was his story. I did not quite believe him.

What did he expect to happen to him now? ‘It is in God’s hands,’ he replied.
He really played that perfectly, right down to the Islamist-pandering closing. That's an extremely detailed account, with only a wounding, no death, from his quarter, but tidal waves of evil sworn to around him. Perhaps this is following on some plea deal - rat out the other mercs and be allowed to go home safe in return. "Yes sir, in God's name, that man Mr. Nasser over there was their leader. I saw him splash the petrol all over the soldiers..."

And again, we know from credible "protester" sources that loyalists in Benghazi were burning people alive for refusing to obey orders of the "kill protesters and mourners" kind. These five soldiers (be sure to see the second half) suffered that fate at the same "Birka barracks," possibly at the hands of these same afro-mercs young [name not given] presumably swore to in the Benghazi court of free Libya on or around February 25.


  1. Thanks for mentioning Richard Pendlebury. In the Daily Mail of 24 February 2011, he mentions bumping into an academic, conveniently with medical connections:
    "I also met Professor Gamal Mosa, a geologist from Omar Al Mokhtar University in the town of Al Bayda" (day not recorded)
    "Laden with suitcases, he was escaping home to Egypt with his wife and three children, aged 12, ten and eight.The academic told of days of massacre by Gaddafi loyalists and his utter contempt for the ‘crazy’ Libyan leader

    "‘In my town the problems started some ten days ago with peaceful demonstrations for reform,’ he said. ‘It exploded when one of the protesters leaned against a police car and he was then deliberately run over.

    ‘That was the spark for a popular rising.’

    Weapons stores were looted and loyalist security forces attacked. Prof Mosa said that for three days the town endured terrible bloodshed as Gaddafi ordered in attack helicopters and hundreds of mercenaries from ‘Central Africa’, to quell the revolt.

    ‘When the Africans arrived and began to kill people the local police and army units joined the uprising and fought them. I was told some 300 of the mercenaries were captured.’

    The professor estimated that around 200 people had been killed during the protests and fighting.

    ‘A surgeon lives above my family and he was operating on the casualties from dawn til midnight for many days,’ he said"

    Clearly the Prof is talking of Al Bayda,not Benghazi. Notice the attack helicopters being namechecked, again with no footage available anywhere.

  2. The professor seems to leave no internet trace. And why,one might ask,was he leaving the East of the Country which had fallen?

  3. All one comes up with is Gamal A. Mosa dr.gamalmosa@yahoo.com lecturer in Geology at Tanta University, Egypt.

    جمال الدين موسى
    Dr. Gamal El Din MOSA Ph.D, 1992
    AUSTERIA (sic)
    Economic Geology (Limestones)

  4. July 21, 2011 @ 04:56 PM ET by Jorge Sierra

    Owumi first grew concerned about the situation in February, when small demonstrations started to get bigger and bigger. On February 17, real havoc began. As he was preparing to go to practice, Owumi received instructions from his club not to leave his apartment. Anti-government protesters were marching next to his building and military men were coming at them.

    "I had access to the roof of my building and there were three or four tanks driving into a crowd of people," Owumi said. "I went back to my apartment for water and as soon as I went back up, I saw 30 or 40 military men shooting at the crowd of people. There was nobody with megaphones telling people to disperse. I just saw them shooting. Not to the air or the ground. Just shooting at people. Bodies were dropping. It was happening a block away from my street."

    When he returned to the apartment, shocked, Owumi had no access to Internet and the cell phone wasn't working for international calls. He called the president of his team, Ahmed Elturki, asking for a way out.

    "He told me, 'Don't leave the building, don't even leave the apartment'. I told him I wanted to go to the airport and leave and he told me the people in Libya had burned the airport down. I was in the middle of everything. I was like stuck in a box.

    "I went two weeks without phone or Internet to talk to my family."

    Fourteen days of confinement at the house followed heeding the advice of Al-Nasr's president when it became obvious it would be dangerous to leave the building.

    With little food aside from tuna, bread and potato chips, which Owumi says he shared with neighbors, and no way to communicate with his family in the States, the days were long and stressful.

    "The shootings were so bad at night that I had to sleep on the floor instead of the bed that was next to a window. You saw sparks all the time if you looked at the window. They were bullets."

    In the last two weeks of February, the rebels took control of the city and pro-Gadaffi major Huda Ben Amer had to flee to Tripoli, the capital of the country, 400 miles to the west. Many civilians got access to weaponry of all kinds at that point.

    "When I looked outside, I saw 10-year-old kids with machetes. They ambushed the police station, so the locals in my area went into the police station and got weapons. You saw regular people in the street driving around in jeeps, shooting AK-47s up in the air. That's when I realized this was no Egypt. It was war zone. It was like a movie. There was people driving tanks. It was people running loose.

    "These people were not going to back down. I've never seen people willing to give their lives for their country like that. They were walking into bullets."

    The bullets did not come just from Libyan military, according to Owumi, but also from foreign mercenaries hired from Chad, Sudan, Senegal, Nigeria and Eastern Europe. He was able to see the burned bodies of some of them in a visit to the hospital once he was able to get out of the house on March 1.

    "There was a room with 30 or 40 body bags and they were still open. You could see the dead bodies. I asked who those people were and one person told me they were mercenaries from other countries. 'They shot them and burned these people alive', he told me. The hospital was crazy. There was people with no arms, babies crying... It was the saddest thing I had seen in my life."

    When communications with the outside world were re-established and Owumi's family and girlfriend were able to contact him, they tried to get the American embassy involved to move him out of the country. It was to little avail at first.



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