Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is largely relying on paramilitary forces, some of them bolstered by foreign mercenaries, to crush a popular uprising amid signs of schisms in the regular army, according to Libyan and military experts.
Reports from Libya suggest that foreign mercenaries have been among the most brutal forces sweeping the streets of Tripoli and other cities.
Many of the paramilitary units, which have been firing indiscriminately at civilian protesters, have long been part of Libya’s internal security system and have helped as a check on any uprising by the army. Now they are bloodying civilians.
The Khamis Brigade, named after Gaddafi’s youngest son, was reported to be flying in additional mercenaries from African countries as recently as Wednesday, according to Omar Khattaly, of the Libyan Working Group, an exiled human rights group.
Identity cards from Guinea, Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Sudan were reportedly found on individuals wearing Libyan uniforms and killed in Benghazi and other locations.
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