Cadets prepare for a Libyan Army graduation ceremony in Tripoli
Cadets prepare for a Libyan Army graduation ceremony in TripoliReuters

A handful of Libyan soldiers that were being trained at a Cambridgeshire army base have applied for asylum status in the UK after the Ministry of Defence decided to shut down the programme following a spate of alleged sexual assaults and rapes.

According to a report by the BBC, five soldiers are seeking asylum status in Britain. They were involved in a training programme alongside 295 other servicemen at Bassingbourn Barracks, which is being cut short.

"The majority of recruits have responded positively to the training despite the ongoing political uncertainty in Libya but there have been disciplinary issues," said the MoD in a statement last night.

"Training was initially expected to last until the end of November but we have agreed with the Libyan government that it is best for all involved to bring forward the training completion date. The recruits will be returning to Libya in the coming days."

The UK signed a deal to train 2,000 cadets to ensure Libya's security. The most current tranche of the programme, which was recently cancelled, was training 300 Libyan cadets.

The five asylum seekers were not named in the BBC report nor has the MoD confirmed the asylum applications.

Sexual Assault Allegations

Ibrahim El Maarfi and Mohammed Abdalsalam, attended court in Cambridge last month to answer

Meanwhile, Khaled El Azibi was been charged with three counts of sexual assault and awaits court.

Two other Libyan soldiers, Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud and Ibrahim Abogutila, have been charged with raping a man.

"The training of Libyan soldiers was central to the UK Government's long-term security strategy for the region," Shadow defence minister Ian Lucas said in a statement.

"Having been significantly delayed in the first instance, the UK-based training programme has now collapsed in disarray and scandal, and there are no plans to continue it elsewhere.

"The Defence Secretary (Michael Fallon) needs to explain how this has gone so badly wrong and urgently clarify the Government's strategy for helping to build a safe and stable Libya, including whether or not training Libyan soldiers is part of it."