The Ministry of Defence was warned of security risks surrounding an agreement to train Libyan soldiers in the UK, according to newly released documents.
About 300 soldiers arrived in the UK in June to undergo training at Bassingbourn Barracks, Cambridgeshire – but their training was cut short after five were charged with sexual assaults.
Two of the arrested soldiers are awaiting sentencing after admitting their part in sex attacks, while three others are yet to enter pleas.
The new disclosure has thrown into doubt plans to train 2,000 soldiers under an agreement reached at the 2013 G8 summit. The Government is now reviewing whether it will be possible to train more recruits on British soil. Acknowledging problems surrounding cultural attitudes to sexual violence in Libya, an MoD risk assessment released under Freedom of Information legislation warned of immigration, security and reputational risks.
It reads: “There were reports of widespread sexual and gender-based violence during the conflict and there is some evidence that serious human rights abuses involving sexual violence took place. A UN mission in 2012 found incidents of rape perpetrated against both women and men. This is likely to represent significant under-reporting, due to the sensitivity of sexual violence and reticence to discuss these issues outside the family.”