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Germany

Report: German Police Trained Libyan Forces for Decades

In a developing scandal, a newspaper claims that German police have trained security forces in Libya for two decades, questioning government insistence that the training had been unauthorized and of recent date only.

Special police forces during a training exercise in Germany

Media reported that German training of Libyan security forces stretches back decades

Germany's BKA federal police service had confirmed it began training Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's bodyguards in 1979, with an officer traveling to Libya to give courses twice that year, according to a report in the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Monday, April 14.

The newspaper said West Germany cut a deal so that Gaddafi would lean on the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) not to give refuge to Germany's urban terrorists of the time, the Red Army Faction (RAF).

Ghadafi

The training was to cut a deal with Ghadafi, the paper reported

The payoff was in visits by an experienced German bodyguard, it said, also quoting ex-army sources who said they were shown a video in the mid-1980s of a federal police officer training Libyans.

The paper quoted an officer saying German private firms had provided training in Libya "continuously for more than 20 years."

Berlin has said the police who helped train in Libya between 2005 and 2006 were moonlighting, using vacation to work in Tripoli for a private training company.

Big deal?

The Social Democrat whip in the federal parliament and former German defense minister, Peter Struck said in remarks quoted Sunday he did not consider it a scandal to train Libyan police, and it was good to cooperate with the Libyans against terrorism.

Special forces

The government has said the training took place recently and was unauthorized

The training was debated in parliament last week. Parliamentary watchdogs questioned intelligence chiefs, who reportedly said staff knew of it, but had not thought it significant enough to report to the government.

An army sergeant and more than two dozen active or former members of an elite German police unit were confirmed to have conducted training seminars in Libya between 2005 and 2006.

The government has denied it was aware of the instruction, which reportedly included how to storm buildings, abseil from helicopters and board ships.

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