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Mercenary: Hundreds of Belarusians Helping Gaddafi Fight Uprising

April 7, 2011 by Brett Wilkins in Europe with 0 Comments

A Belarusian mercenary claims he and “several hundred” of his comrades are being paid $3,000 a month to help Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s forces fight off the rebel insurgency that is threatening to overthrow the regime. The hired gun, who gave only his first name, Mikhail, told Britain’s Telegraph that he and his compatriots aren’t participating in the actual fighting, but rather are advising Gaddafi’s forces as they counter the rebel advance.

The Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reports that many of the Belarusian mercenaries are veterans of the Soviet Union’s 1979-1989 war in Afghanistan and that many  have Special Forces backgrounds. The paper claims that the mercenaries are responsible for the Libyan military’s recent success in fighting back the insurgency. “It looks very much like the Belarusian advisers have managed to keep the Libyan army disciplined and have told them how to use mobile tactics against the rebels and how to deal with NATO air activity,” it wrote. “For now the Belarusian partisans are winning!”

According to the Telegraph, there were 500 Belarusian advisers in Libya before the current hostilities broke out. Some of these have been evacuated, but many remain. It is unclear whether they are operating as private contractors or on official Belarusian business. Reports from witnesses of Belarusians fighting alongside Gaddafi’s forces have been vehemently denied by the Belarusian foreign ministry. Still, Belarus and Libya enjoy cozy relations, with the former suspected of arming the latter during these trying times. Brutal Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko even calls Gaddafi “Brother Muammar.”

BFFs. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

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