See also:
» 26.02.2011 - African mercenaries in Libya: Fact or racism?
» 23.02.2011 - Exodus from Libya; foreigners targeted
» 04.02.2010 - Unblock websites – rights group
» 16.12.2009 - Lockerbie bomber disappears in Libya
» 02.12.2009 - Swiss nationals get jail terms in Libya
» 25.11.2009 - Gaddafi to mediate Algeria-Egypt row
» 14.09.2009 - Commission orders Libya not to execute Nigerians on death row
» 15.05.2009 - Libya gets 3 patrol boats from Italy

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Society | Politics | Human rights

Khamis Ghaddafi: The agent of fear

Photo of Khamis al-Ghaddafi from his Facebook profile

© Private/Facebook/afrol News
afrol News, 23 February
- The elite 32nd brigade under command of Colonel Ghaddafi's youngest son Khamis is reportedly around Tripoli to crack down the protests. Khamis during the last years has been built up as Libya's major agent of fear.

At a first sight, Khamis al-Ghaddafi is a handsome, young gentleman; well educated and not involved in the sex and party affairs that have tarnished the image of his elder brothers.

But looks can lie. Khamis - the fifth son by papa Ghaddafi's second wife who in 2007 obtained a PhD in military sciences in Moscow - heads Libya's most feared elite brigade.

The Khamis Brigade is typically based close to Benghazi; Libya's second city that has been in the hands of protesters since Sunday. Rumours of an advance of the "Khamis Brigade" at several occasions have caused panic among Benghazi residents during the last few days.

But little has been seen of Khamis and his feared brigade during the popular uprising in Libya so far. There have even been rumours he is abroad.

According to Spanish news reports, Khamis since April 2010 has been inscribed in the Madrid IE Business School - under the name of "Khamis Muammer" - where he studies to obtain a business master. The school says Spanish authorities are aware of Khamis' regular presence in Madrid. The report seems credible.

Further, according to the Madrid school, Khamis at the moment was expected to be in the US for practical training. Next week, he was due to participate in a seminar in South Africa. But since the Libyan

Khamis al-Ghaddafi was the first to salute his father after his Monday speech

© Libya state TV/afrol News
riots "we have not be able to locate him," school sources told 'El País' yesterday.

No wonder. Yesterday, Khamis was seen on live Libyan state TV. He was the first to salute and hug his father after last evening's dramatic speech, where Colonel Ghaddafi promised to spare no efforts in suppressing the protest movement. Khamis was to be his main weapon.

Since yesterday evening, there have been repeated reports by eyewitnesses in Tripoli - where the Ghaddafi speech was held - of movements by the Khamis Brigade. Today, several reports from the city Misrata, east of Tripoli, claim the Khamis Brigade is involved in heavy clashes against civilians, killing every protester getting in their way.

There are few ways to verify these reports from Libya. But, true or not, they illustrate the genuine fear the name Khamis is creating among Libyans.

According to US Embassy sources, there are indeed reasons to fear the Khamis Brigade. The Embassy already in 2009 said it was a "fact that the 'Khamis Brigade' is considered the best-equipped and most capable of defending the regime." Khamis's "elite 32nd Brigade force" is the "most important military and security elements of the regime," another US Embassy report says.

The same sources insist the Khamis Brigade has the most advance

Khamis al-Ghaddafi during an official visit in Algeria in 2008

© Présidence de la République Algérienne/afrol News
d military equipment; the most disciplined troops and is the most loyal to the regime.

Indeed, Captain Khamis in December 2009 tried to purchase even more lethal arms from the US. His agents tried to prepare "purchases of helicopters and 'Tiger' vehicle components, and M113 refurbishment," according to the US Embassy in Tripoli. The US refused to sell Khamis 'Little Bird' helicopters, but informed him that "the Libyan military was free to purchase a number of other helicopter systems."

There are no confirmed reports about a possible US sale of helicopters to the Khamis Brigade after the 2009 request, but it is known that South Africa has sold military helicopters to the Libyan army. Helicopters have been used to shoot at the protesting crowds in Benghazi and Tripoli.

Meanwhile in Libya, today's reports from the capital indicate massive use of violence against the protesters. Non-confirmed reports from Tripoli however speak about "African mercenaries" shooting at civilians in the streets of the capital.

The latest unconfirmed reports about the whereabouts of the Khamis Brigade come from Misrata; a western Libyan city that yesterday was close to fall into the hands of protesters. But the scarce reports of Khamis heading the battle over Misrata cannot be confirmed.

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