Gaddafi’s young “soldiers” at the front

Critics of the western air strike campaign should read this – Gaddafi’s noble war style.
Moscow, China and Germany in particular need to pay close attention……..
A 16-year-old boy tells reporter Ruth Sherlock how Gaddafi loyalists forced him and other youths to fight the rebels on the front line of Misrata’s bitter siege.

Sixteen-year-old Murad, banters with his doctors from his oversized wheelchair.

Smooth faced and wide eyed, with a big innocent smile, he talks about football, computers, and blushes at the mention of girls.

Murad is still too young to shave, but until last week he was handling weapons on the deadliest front of Libya’s brutal civil war. Until he was injured, and captured by the opposition, Murad was an unwilling soldier in Colonel Muammer Gaddafi’s conscript army.

Now his arm is in plaster, and the white bed sheet draped over his thin frame covers the bloody, bandaged stump where his leg has been amputated.

Murad is one of an ‘army’ of child soldiers being used by Colonel Muammer Gaddafi in the battle to regain the besieged city of Misrata. School boys as young as 15 are being conscripted to the front line say government troops captured by the rebels.

Dozens of school boys have been taken from Tripoli, and forced to fight for Gaddafi say eyewitnesses.

Photo of sixteeen year old Murad. He was too scared to show his face.

Ninety boys, between the ages of 15 and 19, where called to military barracks in Tripoli “for training” as soon as the 17th February popular uprising began, Murad, and another captive have independently said.

“Many of the people there are younger than me,” says Murad. Murad is pictured left, but was too scared to show his face.

“We were kept locked in the camp and trained a little and then they took us to the battalion,” says ‘Abdul’ who is based different clinic.

The nineteen year old wounded soldier is too frightened to be fully named.

For nearly six weeks they were kept without access to radio or television. Then with no information about where they were going, the group was then taken to Misrata.

“I didn’t say goodbye to my family when I went to the barracks. I thought I was just going got for two weeks training,” says Murad.

With almost no military training, the boys were handed Kalashnikovs and brought near to the ‘heavy road’ to the sea port- the war zone of artillery, grad rockets and tank fire.

They were told they had to save Misrata from foreign invaders that had taken control of the town. “We were told there were mercenaries close to the sea port” says Abdul.

The boys waited for several days in the abandoned homes of Misrata civilians.

Terrified, Murad’s group refused the officer’s order for them to go forward. They stayed hiding in the home. “The officer found us and forced us into the car” says Murad.

Roughly shoved out of the vehicle at the front line, the bewildered boys came under immediate fire from the rebel troops. Their group was pounded with anti-aircraft fire and heavy machine guns. “Three of the boys died, and the officer ran away,” says Murad.

Abandoned and hit in the leg, Murad tried to stem the blood loss with a tourniquet and dragged himself behind a concrete block. A “rebel saw me and shot me in the arm”.

Rebels took him to a Misrata hospital, but the leg was too damaged to save.



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