Colombia on Tuesday asked Libya to investigate allegations that ten Colombian mercenaries hired by ousted dictator Muammar Gadaffi were executed by rebel forces.
Colombia’s Ambassador to Cairo, Mario Iguaran, told W Radio that he has asked his Libyan counterpart to investigate the allegations.
“We have urged the Libyan Embassy in Cairo to inform us about the situation. We are very concerned and want more information,” Iguaran said.
Croatian newspaper Vecernji List reported earlier Tuesday that a rebel source told them the Colombians were part of a group of 85 who were executed after being imprisoned.
The execution of prisoners of war consists of a war crime according to international humanitarian law.
From the start of the conflict there have been reports of Gadaffi using foreign mercenaries, mostly Africans, to defend himself against the rebel uprising. However, journalists on the ground have reported that many of those alleged mercenaries were migrant workers who rebel soldiers accused of being mercenaries based on their ethnicity. The rebels imprisoned or killed an unknown number.
Rebels had previously asserted that female snipers of Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, took part in Gadaffi’s mercenary army, but these stories were never confirmed by independent sources.
The Libyan conflict has been raging since February when Gadaffi’s security forces brutally put down protests against the regime. As the country slid into civil war, NATO intervened in the conflict in March, ostensibly to protect civilians.
In August, the rebels, backed by NATO airpower, took the capital Tripoli, sending Gadaffi into hiding. With the rebels still fighting for control of the Gadaffi’s few remaining strongholds, the ex-dictator’s whereabouts are unknown.