JNN 22 Feb 2011 : African mercenaries are being used by Libya to crush protests, prompting some army troops to switch sides to the opposition, Libya’s ambassador to India, who resigned in the wake of the crackdown, said on Tuesday.
“They are from Africa, and speak French and other languages,” Ali al-Essawi told Reuters in an interview, adding that he was receiving information from sources within the OPEC-member country.Essawi, who has left the embassy since he resigned on Monday to protest the violent crackdown and is now staying at a hotel in New Delhi, said he had been told there had been army defections
.”They (troops) are Libyans and they cannot see foreigners killing Libyans so they moved beside the people,” Essawi said, looking nervous and agitated.Earlier on Tuesday, Essawi told Reuters that he expected more diplomats at foreign missions to resign due to the ongoing violence in Libya.
He said ambassadors in China, Poland, Tunisia, the Arab League, and the United States had also stepped down.In a fresh wave of violent crackdown on protests which have rocked the North African nation for nearly a week, Libyan army warplanes have bombed the capital city of Tripoli.
“Fighter aircraft were bombing civilians on the streets of Tripoli, this is unprecedented violence,” Essawi said.
Residents reported gunfire in the capital city, and one activist said warplanes and helicopters are “indiscriminately bombing .
There are many, many dead.” The head Human Rights in Geneva, Khalid’Aqeeli, accused Italy to send planes to bomb the Libyan protesters opposed to the rule of Muammar Qaddafi and condemned Western complicity with Gaddafi in the implementation of the crimes.
Aqeeli Said in an interview with news channel Al-Alam on Tuesday: The major damage now is that the aircraft are attacking people come from Italy and this is a great disaster.Aqeeli said we are sure that the West and Libya has worked to suppress the Libyan people, and said: “All these have participated in the crime activities and they are responsible to killing Libyan people.
Meanwhile, cracks have been reported between Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi’s supporters as several army personnel and politicians take side with people protesters. “We strongly condemn the barbaric, criminal massacre and the total elimination of our innocent civilians,” the embassy in Malaysia said after it was briefly occupied by around 200 protesters.
“Libya is at a crossroads. If we do not agree today on reforms, we will not be mourning 84 people, but thousands of deaths, and rivers of blood will run through Libya,” he said on Monday.
He added that his father remained in charge with the army’s backing and would “fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet.”
On Monday, protesters took over cities and towns in eastern Libya as government troops surrendered and sided with them.
Two Libyan Air Force Mirage jet fighters unexpectedly flew to Malta this afternoon with their pilots claiming they escaped to Malta after having been ordered to bomb protesters who have taken control of the second city of Benghazi.
The pilots told the Maltese authorities that they left from a base near Tripoli. Their aircrafts were armed with air to ground rockets.The pilots initially asked for emergency clearance to land and for refuelling. Upon landing they were questioned by the police and sought political asylum.
Their arrival followed shortly after the arrival of two civilian helicopters which flew in and landed at Malta International Airport this afternoon carrying seven people.
Informed sources said the helicopters ‘escaped from Libya with no official clearance’ but arrived in Malta regularly.
In Benghazi, Libya, thousands of people have taken to the streets since last week, calling for the ouster of the 68-year-old Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, who has been in office since September 1969.
The Libyan regime has brutally cracked down on protesters, and has opened fire with machine guns, as well as sniper fire, killing at least 233 people since Thursday according to the Human Rights Watch.
Diplomats have said the U.N. Security Council would hold a closed-door meeting on Tuesday to discuss the crisis in Libya.
“Libyans cannot do anything against the air fighters. We do not call for international troops, but we call on the international community to save the Libyans,” Essawi said.