Libyan rebels have executed 10 Colombian mercenaries after storming one of ousted dictator Muammar Gadaffi’s compounds, Croatian newspaper Vecernji List reported Tuesday based on a rebel source.
The source told the newspaper that the Colombians were part of a group of 85 who were executed after being imprisoned.
“According to my information, among those executed were nine Croats, 12 Serbs, 11 Ukrainians and ten Colombians. The rest, I believe, have not been identified,” Abdelaziz Madini, a fighter of the rebels’ Al Obajdija brigade, reportedly said.
“Those who didn’t die in combat were sentenced immediately. A bullet in the head and goodbye. They were not soldiers. They were murderers, butchers … they were men without a soul who killed for money,” the Croatian newspaper quoted the Libyan as saying.
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.