Libyan rebels near Benghazi
From the BBC
6 March 2011
Details of a UK operation to rebel-held Benghazi in Libya in which eight men - six reportedly SAS - were arrested, have been disclosed to the BBC.
Defence Secretary Liam Fox said a small diplomatic team was in Benghazi and "they were in touch with them".
The BBC's Jon Leyne said witnesses saw six men in black overalls land in a helicopter near the city early on Friday and they were met by two others.
They were later arrested when it was discovered they were carrying weapons.
According to an earlier report in the Sunday Times the unit was trying to put UK diplomats in touch with rebels trying to topple the Gaddafi regime.
In a statement, the MoD said: "We neither confirm nor deny the story and we do not comment on the Special Forces.
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A Libyan rebel talking on a handheld radio walks past a burned out truck mounting twin 23mm anti-aircraft guns.
It seems these guys are involved in exactly the kind of work I used to do; I saw the Ivory Coast go from a relatively stable, prosperous nation into civil war - I even trained the guys who kicked the thing off - it started as a pay mutiny, quickly became a failed coup attempt and ultimately evolved into a full-blown civil war. I later encountered those same guys on the battlefield; this time they were the rebels, on the opposite side, and I was getting our civilians out.
Mind you, I don't think any of the countries I went into on these kind of missions were quite at this level of anarchy. These guys got rolled up - which does not mean they were sloppy; it's hard for a European NOT to stand out on the African continent - it indicates the degree of chaos that exists in Libya. Question: if Benghazi is in rebel hands, then who's holding these guys?
We've arrived at a precarious point in Libya, and if we play this thing right, everybody stands to benefit. The Libyan people's street protests for freedom & democratic reform have obviously evolved into a bona fide popular uprising against ruthless, bloodthirsty dictatorship. Gadaffi has never been a friend of the West and he needs to go before he takes what's left of the country down with him. Our leadership needs to realize that we're at the point where direct military support in the form of arms, ammunition and advisers is what we need to do to sort things out in Libya.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . SEAN LINNANE SENDS
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