Amazonian Guard

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Amazonian Guard
الراهبات الثوريات
al-rāhibāt al-thawriyyāt
Common name the Amazons
Agency overview
Formed Early 1980s
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
National agency lb
General nature
Operational structure
President responsible Muammar Gaddafi
Gaddafi with one of his Amazonian Guards (2009)

The Amazonian Guard (also "the Amazons") was an unofficial name given by Western journalists to an all-female elite cadre of bodyguards officially known as الراهبات الثوريات (al-rāhibāt al-thawriyyāt) "The Revolutionary Nuns", and sometimes also unofficially called "the Green Nuns", tasked with protecting the late, former leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi.[1]

Formation[edit]

The group was formed in the early 1980s, after Gaddafi's official resignation as Libyan head of state in favour of the title of "Brotherly Leader and Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya".

According to Joseph T. Stanik, Gaddafi reportedly employed a cadre of female bodyguards because he believed that an Arab gunman would have difficulty firing at women.[2] However, it has also been submitted by other authors that Gaddafi's female bodyguards were, in reality, just an aspect of the dictator's well-known eccentric showmanship and his fondness of surrounding himself with young women.[3] Gaddafi would usually travel with 15 of his Amazonian Guards assigned to security or housekeeping.[4]

Training[edit]

Candidates for the Amazonian Guard underwent extensive firearms and martial arts training at a special academy, were required to take an oath of chastity, and had to have been hand-picked by Gaddafi himself.[5] Members of this bodyguard were allowed privileges such as dressing in Western-style fatigues and wearing makeup, or displaying Western hair styles and high heels.

Incidents[edit]

In 1998, one of Gaddafi's female bodyguards was killed and seven others were wounded when Islamic fundamentalists in Libya ambushed Gaddafi's motorcade. It was claimed that the dead guard, Aisha, was Gaddafi's favourite and threw herself across Gaddafi's body to stop the bullets.[6][7]

In November 2006, as Gaddafi arrived at Abuja Airport in Nigeria, with a 200-strong troop of heavily armed bodyguards, a diplomatic incident was caused as security officials tried to disarm them. Gaddafi furiously walked away, gesturing that he intended to cover the 40 km journey to the capital on foot, and could only be persuaded to yield after intervention by Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, who by chance happened to be at the airport.[8]

During the Libyan civil war, many were "hunted down" (raped, tortured, murdered) in retaliation for their role in executing rebel soldiers.[9]

Abuse claims[edit]

In the latter days of the Libyan Civil War, accusations emerged from five members of the Amazonian Guard of rape and other abuse by the upper echelons of the Gaddafi government, which typically ranged from Gaddafi himself, to his sons, to high officials.[10][11] Some Amazonian Guards have also claimed that they were forced to execute rebels or be killed themselves.[12][13][14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sparks, Ian (2007-12-11). "Five planes, a camel, a tent and 30 female virgin bodyguards... Libyan leader Gaddafi arrives in Paris with his entourage". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  2. ^ Stanik, Joseph T. (2003). El Dorado Canyon: Reagan's Undeclared War with Qaddafi. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-55750-983-3. 
  3. ^ Wheeler, Tony (2007). Tony Wheeler's Bad Lands. Footscray, Vic: Lonely Planet. p. 197. ISBN 978-1-74179-186-0. 
  4. ^ Holt, Lester; Taibbi, Mike (24 September 2011). Luxurious Libyan ‘Air Force One’? (video). Tripoli, Libya: MSNBC. Retrieved 22 October 2011. This I guess in the aft end of the aircraft is for his bodyguards, security detail, eight rows of six, 48 seats. Gadhafi often traveled with female bodyguards. Some called them his Amazon guards. Lakhtar said there were usually around 15 females in Gadhafi's traveling party, assigned to security or housekeeping. 
  5. ^ Torrence, Samantha A. (2007-12-21). "Qaddafi's Angels Guard the Libyan During Deal with France". DigitalJournal.com. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  6. ^ Dowdney, Mark (12 June 1998). "Girl guard dies saving Gaddafi in gun attack". Daily Record (Scotland: The Free Library). Retrieved 22 October 2011. She threw herself on top of the Libyan leader when rebels opened fire on his motorcade, and died riddled with bullets... A Libyan source said: 'Gaddafi was deeply distressed. Aisha, the woman who died, was his top bodyguard.' 
  7. ^ "Desperately seeking Qaddafi's brigade of beautiful bodyguards". Al Arabiya. 2011-08-26. Retrieved 07-11-2011.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ Last, Alex (28 November 2006). "Gaddafi in Nigeria airport drama". BBC News. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  9. ^ http://www.chinasmack.com/2011/pictures/gaddafi-female-bodyguards-found-murdered-chinese-reactions.html
  10. ^ Flock, Elizabeth (29 August 2011). "Gaddafi’s female bodyguards say they were raped, abused by the Libyan leader". The Washington Post. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Micallef, Mark (28 August 2011). "Gaddafi ‘raped’ his female bodyguards". The Sunday Times (Timesofmalta.com). Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  12. ^ Damon, Arwa (2011-08-31). "Libyan teen says Gadhafi's troops forced her to execute rebels". CNN. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  13. ^ Chulov, Martin (2011-09-07). "Gaddafi's 'Amazonian' bodyguards' barracks quashes myth of glamour". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  14. ^ Reuter, Christoph (2011-09-05). "Life After the Despot". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2011-09-27.