Libyan Diplomat comments on Libyan unrest
Reuters and Ahram Online, Tuesday 22 Feb 2011
Former Libyan Ambassador to India Ali Al-Essawi discusses the government's violent crackdown on protesters as other Libyan diplomats also leave their posts

African mercenaries are being used by Libya to crush protests, prompting some army troops to switch sides to the opposition, Libya's ambassador to India, who resigned in the wake of the crackdown, said on Tuesday.

"They are from Africa, and speak French and other languages," Ali Al-Essawi told Reuters in an interview, adding that he was receiving information from sources within the OPEC-member country.

Essawi, who has left the embassy since he resigned on Monday to protest the violent crackdown and is now staying at a hotel in New Delhi, said he had been told there had been army defections.

"They (troops) are Libyans and they cannot see foreigners killing Libyans so they moved beside the people," Essawi said, looking nervous and agitated.

Diplomats have said the UN Security Council would hold a closed-door meeting on Tuesday to discuss the crisis in Libya.

"Libyans cannot do anything against the air fighters. We do not call for international troops, but we call on the international community to save the Libyans," Essawi said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Essawi told Reuters that he expected more diplomats at foreign missions to resign due to the ongoing violence in Libya.

Libyan diplomats have left their posts as a sign of protest in the past few days.

In Cairo, Abdel-Monem al-Houni, Libya's Arab League representative said he had told the Foreign Ministry in Tripoli that he had "resigned from all his duties and joined the popular revolution" on Sunday as a sign of protest after the Libyan government allowed the brutalizing of peaceful and unarmed protesters.

Hussein Sadiq al Musrati , the second secretary in the Libyan mission to Beijing, resigned in protest to the regime's actions on Monday and called on all diplomatic staff to resign.

Al-Essawi said ambassadors in China, Poland, Tunisia, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh and the United States had also stepped down.

"Fighter aircraft were bombing civilians on the streets of Tripoli, this is unprecedented violence," Essawi said.

Ali Aujali, Ambassador of Libya to the United States who stepped down on Monday, voiced similar concerns.

"How can I support a government killing our people? What I have seen in front of my eyes is not acceptable at all."