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Captured Libyan soldier:
Captured Libyan soldier:

Captured Libyan soldier: "Qaddafi gave us Dignity, I would die a thousand times for him"

Posted: 2011/08/30

“I myself would die a thousand times for Qaddafi, even now,” said Faraj Mohamed, a 20-year-old soldier from Sirte, lying in a hospital in Tripoli as a prisoner of the Libyan rebels. “I love him because he gave us dignity, and he is a symbol for the patriotism of the country.”

At moments when the rebel guards were out of earshot, Mr. Mohamed said he fought on, fearful of a future without Colonel Qaddafi. He warned what would happen if the rebels take over Libya: “Murder and killing and stealing and chaos.”

“What is happening now is because of the rebels, not Qaddafi,” Mr. Mohamed said.

Mr. Mohamed, his leg in a cast and a wound on his back, lay with five other captives in a prison unit of the Mitiga air base hospital, with an armed guard in the hall. The rebels call them prisoners of war, but Mr. Mohamed was the only one who admitted to fighting for Colonel Qaddafi.

Two fellow patients said they were migrant workers, from Niger and Somalia, who had been falsely accused of being "mercenaries".

Another patient, a Libyan, said he had simply been shot in the street. “I am innocent,” he said. Another was handcuffed to his bedrail.

Mr. Mohamed mentioned how many remember that when Colonel Qaddafi took power in 1969 Libya was a poor and almost entirely undeveloped nation of Bedouin herders whose oil wealth appeared to enrich mainly the foreign companies that exploited it. Qaddafi pursued development programs that helped turn Libya into a primarily urban country.

He said Colonel Qaddafi had brought Libyans self-respect by kicking out foreign colonialists; under Colonel Qaddafi, Libyans celebrated a national holiday every year on the day the United States evacuated the air base that included the hospital where Mr. Mohamed was held.

Then there was the special patronage — buildings, roads, schools, hospitals, jobs — lavished on Colonel Qaddafi’s two former hometowns, Sirte and Sabha. Sirte flourished as Colonel Qaddafi’s favorite place to hold conferences, Mr. Mohamed said of the Mediterranean port city that is his hometown as well.

“Sirte really loves Qaddafi,” he said. “And they will fight for him.”

But he also professed a high-minded fear that without Colonel Qaddafi’s strong hand to preserve order, the rebels would drag Libya into chaos. In a Tripoli neighborhood supportive of Colonel Qaddafi, Mr. Mohamed recalled, he met residents who “said they were scared the rebels would rape the women and kill the men.”

Residents fought for the Colonel even after it was said rebels were inside his compound. Also Mr. Mohamed fought on until the next day, when his militia was in a battle and the rebels shot him.

“I would sacrifice myself, I would sacrifice my family,” he said. “I would die for Qaddafi.”


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