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MoD pressed over Libyan cadets


About 300 Libyan recruits were sent home from Bassingbourn Barracks

About 300 Libyan recruits were sent home from Bassingbourn Barracks

About 300 Libyan recruits were sent home from Bassingbourn Barracks

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) must publicly answer questions over its handling of disgraced Libyan cadet soldiers training in the UK, councillors have said.

Earlier this month, 300 Libyan recruits who were training at Bassingbourn Barracks, Cambridgeshire, were sent home after five were arrested over sex offences and concerns were raised about the conduct of others.

It has thrown into doubt plans to train 2,000 soldiers to help support the new Libyan government.

Now Cambridge City Council has called for an independent review to ensure that questions from the authority, residents and victims of the attacks are answered fully.

The MoD has already said it will review the agreement to train Libyans in the UK but the council's leader, Lewis Herbert, said it is important that the process is publicly accountable.

Mr Herbert said he had written to Prime Minister David Cameron to raise his concerns about the incidents and the lack of communication from the MoD to the council.

He also wrote to the commanding officer at the barracks and has received an apology from the Army.

Mr Herbert said: "Given the very serious nature of these assaults it is right that the Army has apologised. I welcome this apology and the commitment to involving us in the review.

"I welcome the promise of dialogue with the council about what went so badly wrong and how it can be avoided in future.

"In my view people deserve a detailed public explanation of what happened."

The agreement was part of a pledge to support Libya's effort to improve security following the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Up to 2,000 soldiers had been due to undergo basic infantry and junior command training as part of an agreement reached at last year's G8 summit.

Speaking after the troops were sent home, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: "We are now going to review how best the programme of training can be carried out."

Two of the arrested soldiers are awaiting sentencing after admitting their part in sex attacks, while three others are yet to enter pleas.