Former Libyan Rebels for Police Training in Jordan, Turkey
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Former Libyan Rebels for Police Training in Jordan, Turkey

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In an effort to rebuild the country's almost disastrous security forces, the Libyan government is to send rebels who formed the backbone of the militias that ousted the former Gaddafi regime from power to receive police training abroad.

Although not yet setting a timetable, the interim government has said that initially, and in accordance with signed agreements, it has decided to send 2,500 former rebels to Jordan and Turkey for the first round of training. Turkey will receive around 1,500, while the group going to Jordan will be the first batch that will eventually reach about 10,000 in several stages

Turkey and Jordan are among the first to throw their support behind the rebels in the conflict against Gaddafi, and although the first groups will be going to them, in the future Libya could also take up other offers from other countries who have expressed their willingness to train Libyans as police and servicemen.

The giovernment's decision follows closely on the news that about 5,000 former rebels have joined Libya's nascent national army, with the newly-appointed chief of staff Yousef al-Manqoush saying that more of the militiamust sign up if the armed forces are to reassert their authority.

The National Transitional Council, NTC, wants to amalgamate the militia into the police force and army and in order to manage that, besides appointing al-Manqoush as chief of staff, has also set up a committee to register former fighters and help them to either join the army or police forces or offer them the financial means to start new lives as civilians.

According to Mustafa al-Saqizly, the head of the committee, more than 100,000 rebels from all over Libya have registered with the combatants' committee that, he said, deals with the rebels on an individual level and not as groups.

Al-Manqoush said 5,000 of the new recruits, who joined the army in an official ceremony, would begin their training this month, some of them abroad, while about 400 have already completed training to join the police.

It is worth recalling that the former Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi distrusted the military and effectively dismantled the armed forces in the 1990s, leaving them with few arms or personnel, and placing real power in the hands of his own militias. A large number of military officers defected in the early days of the uprising and barracks were overrun by rebels.

Manqoush recognises the fact that the army is an institution that cannot be built in a matter of days. It also needed graduates to join a new 8-10 month officer training scheme aimed at creating a smaller professional army to replace the sprawling but disorganised force of old.

“We must cooperate with the army to help them regain the military barracks and equipment. The more we support the national army, and people rally around it and offer it the necessary support and cooperation the more we reduce the need for armed groups,” he said.

Libyan Passports to Change Colour

Meanwhile, Libya's the interim government Monday also approved changing the colour of Libyan passports from green, to dark blue.

(The Tripoli Post)