By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Hundreds of European mercenaries, including large numbers of European Union citizens, have voluntarily enrolled in the armed forces of the Libyan government, and are fighting under the command of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi.
According to criminologist Michel Koutouzis, the Greek CEO of a French-registered consulting firm with connections to Libya, up to 500 European soldiers-of-fortune have been hired by the Libyan government to provide “special services”, particularly in heavy weaponry and attack helicopters. Koutouzis says that most of the European mercenaries, who sell their services for thousands of dollars a day, come from Eastern Europe, especially Poland, Belarus, Ukraine and Serbia, but there are also French, British and Greek nationals currently in Libya. He also claims that Gaddafi is supported by serving military personnel from Russia, Syria and Algeria. It is believed that the Gaddafi camp is also employing thousands of non-specialist mercenaries from various African nations, including Somalia, Mali, Niger, Chad, and the Central African Republic.
Unconfirmed reports have surfaced in the American press that the Gaddafi forces are employing female snipers from Colombia. But Koutouzis’ claims, initially published by a Paris-based correspondent of United Press International, and later elaborated in the Brussels-based EU Observer, have been the most detailed so far. The Greek expert suggested that the pro-government Libyan army has shrunk to about 25,000 soldiers, due to desertions. But this number does not include the 35,000 to 50,000-strong militia units commanded by Gaddafi’s sons.