First Published: 2011-08-26


Over 550 Polisario mercenaries arrested by Libyan rebels


National Transitional Council transfers captured Polisario mercenaries to Benghazi, pending their trial.


Middle East Online

Polisario mercenaries paid the price of greed

LONDON - Over 550 Polisario mercenaries fighting for Libyan leader’s regime have been captured by the rebels, reported the online magazine

Thousands of Libyan leader’s loyalist troops were arrested, including hundreds of African mercenaries and 556 mercenaries of the Polisario Front movement, which has been fighting for the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco, according to an official from the National Transitional Council (NTC).

The NTC has given strict orders to its fighters to treat prisoners of war lawfully. Mustafa Abdel Jalil, a former justice minister who chairs the NTC, called upon revolutionaries to respect the law and to let justice take its course, warning that he could quit as head of the rebel NTC if he loses control of the revolution.

Many Polisario mercenaries were arrested in the city of Zawiyah and Bab Al Aziziyah in Tripoli. They were transferred to Benghazi, pending their trial as rebels carry on their search for the remaining Polisario mercenaries located in Libya. The NTC’s decision after rebel targeted on August 22 the Algerian Embassy in Tripoli.

Rebels claimed to have found documents specifically incriminating for Algiers, revealing a massive support to the Libyan leader.

The NTC official noted that documents taken from the Algerian Embassy suggested that Polisario mercenaries were trafficked through Algeria into Libya with the knowledge and complicity of the Algerian government.

The documents indicated the Algerian government acted in support of Gathafi's regime throughout the civil war despite Algiers’ denial, according to the website.

The NTC said other Polisario mercenaries were killed in fighting or fled following the unexpectedly quick collapse of the Gathafi’s regime in Tripoli.

The deployment of Polisario mercenaries to fight alongside Gathafi loyalists has caused huge tensions between the NTC and Algeria since the beginning of the revolution. The rebel council accused Algerian officials of supporting Gathafi by sending Polisario mercenaries.

In an interview with Algerian Echorouk daily, Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, the NTC’s Vice-Chairman, said in June that he had documents proving that the Algerian military had conducted daily flights to four airports including Sabha, and Maatikia Benina.

Ghoga said that rebels identified some dead Algerian troops who were fighting alongside Gathafi troops against Libyan rebels.

In March, Ali Richi, a former Migration Minister who joined the rebels, expressed his astonishment at the Polisario mercenaries’ fight for Gathafi’s regime.

“When you read the ethics of the Polisario Front, the claim they are a liberation movement with a just cause,” Richi told El Muhajer TV.

“Now, they have been hired by Gathafi to killing Libyans who are demanding their freedom and rights. It is very surprising!” Richi added, calling on the Algerian government to stop Polisario mercenaries from flowing into Libya from Algeria.


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