SA 'mercenaries' left to own devices
26 October 2011, 12:31
Johannesburg - At least 19 South Africans who apparently supplied an armed escort to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi before he was caught in Libya last week, are being left to their own devices.
This was the response from Siphiwe Dlamini, spokesperson for the South African defence department, to an enquiry about the alleged involvement of the group in the incident.
The South Africans were reported to have scattered after Nato planes started firing at Gaddafi’s convoy outside his hometown Sirte last Thursday. Gaddafi was later shot dead.
"Any South African who is involved in military matters in Libya would do so illegally and at own risk. They are their own responsibility," said Dlamini.
"According to the Prohibition of Mercenary Activity Act of 2006, South Africans are forbidden from entering any conflict area in any part of the world on either side. This is valid for Libya as well.”
Apart from fighting and any other military activities, South Africans are also prohibited from being involved in “the safety of any individual, personnel or property in any manner”, according to the act.
It was unclear how many South Africans were or are involved in Libya. Reports indicated it could be more than 50.
A group of 35 were apparently involved in an operation during which Gaddafi’s wife Safia, his daughter Aisha and two of his sons, Hannibal and Mohammed, fled into exile in Algeria on August 27 or 28.