By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 21 June 2014:
Two aircraft are bringing home 260 Libyan soldiers who have completed 24 weeks of gruelling . . .[restrict]training with an elite regiment of the Italian army.
Just how demanding is demonstrated by the fact that around only half of the men originally sent to train at the Bersaglieri 8th Regiment’s headquarters in Cassino actually completed the posting.
Stefano Bovara, the Defence attaché at the Italian embassy in Tripoli told the Libya Herald that one hundred of those who were first selected for the course were turned down on various grounds, including fitness, before they even left Libya. A further hundred went home in the early stages of the 14 weeks of basic training.
The contingent, including their officers and NCOs went on to train as light infantry at platoon level for ten weeks at a second camp.
“These guys did very well, ”said Bovara, “Training with the Bersaglieri is not a picnic. It is tough. They had to be made of the right stuff and they proved that by completing the training and passing out”.
A new contingent of Libyan troops is new due fly out to Italy after Ramadan. As part of the General Purpose Force agreement, which includes Turkey, the United States and the UK, Italy is to school a total of 2,000 Libyan soldiers.
This April some 340 troops returned from similar training in Italy as part of a bilateral agreement between Rome and Tripoli. At the end of that course, which had begun in November, the commander of the Libyan unit Colonel Mohamed Amed Al-Bashir Badi said of his men: “I brought them to Italy as boys, and now, thanks to the efforts and professionalism of the Italian army, they are brave warriors”.