Zim army shooting protesters in Libya?

Cape Town - Zimbabwe’s Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has been questioned in parliament over allegations that the country’s soldiers were part of the mercenaries unleashing violent attacks on protesters in Libya, a report said.

Zimbabwe’s NewsDay reported that the minister was asked to verify reports that Zimbabwean soldiers were shooting down unarmed civilians protesting against Muammar Gaddafi's regime. 

“Mr Speaker, I would like to know from the minister of defence, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whether there is any truth in the recent press reports that many mercenaries assisting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi are personnel from the ZNA.

“What is the government policy regarding the use of force by armed forces against civilians?” the Movement for Democratic Change’s chief whip Innocent Gonese asked.

Mnangagwa is said to have not hesitated to respond but his answer did not specifically relate to the question.

“That there are mercenaries who are African and are in Libya - I have no mandate in my duty as minister of defence to investigate activities happening in another African country.

“Whether the government of Zimbabwe has any policy where members of the Zimbabwe National Army are allowed to participate in cases or in events outside the country, I would like to advise honourable members that we do not have that provision in the Defence Act,” said Mnangagwa.

Analysts, however, have said that the recruitment of mercenaries in Libya from Sub-Saharan African nations began in the 1980s as a secret programme, but their presence was uncovered in recent years. The exact number was not known, but they were believed to be in the hundreds.

Gaddafi, who seized power in a 1969 military coup when he was 27, has deliberately neglected the 50 000-member army in his country to diminish its ability to topple him. Instead, he has spent lavishly on arms and perks for militia loyal to him and his sons, experts have been quoted as saying.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
President Ramaphosa has punted the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for South Africans. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
The right thing to do. We desperately need more South Africans vaccinated to prevent further mutations and restore normality in our lives.
72% - 2611 votes
A risky strategy. Compulsory vaccinations may have unintended consequences and damage our rollout campaign.
28% - 1000 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.