• Italy edition
 
Italian boot camp trains soldiers from Libya
A batch of former rebels who have joined the ranks of the Libyan army board a plane in the capital Tripoli heading to Italy. AFP Photo/Mahmud Turkia

Italian boot camp trains soldiers from Libya

Published: 19 Jan 2014 12:23 GMT+01:00
Updated: 19 Jan 2014 12:23 GMT+01:00

Some of them are former rebels who fought to oust Qaddafi as part of ragtag opposition forces and the training is taking place at an Italian army base in Cassino, 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of Rome.

In one part of the base a soldier could be seen applying camouflage face paint, while in another soldiers trained on monkey bars and obstacle courses.

An imam in army fatigues calls the soldiers to prayer in a special room fitted out for the purpose and the menus at the canteen have been changed to halal.

The new soldiers "support a free Libya", Lieutenant General Claudio Graziano, chief of staff of the Italian army, said Saturday during a visit to the base -- near the site of the famous World War II battle of Monte Cassino.

"A strong army will become a reference point for democracy and security," Graziano told a small group of reporters, as the 341 mostly young infantrymen
around him got trained on weapons handling and camouflage.

Britain, Turkey and the United States are all taking part in the initiative to train up a total of 15,000 troops but Graziano said that Italy -- Libya's former colonial master -- was "taking the lead".

Two thousand Libyan soldiers -- most of them from Benghazi, Misrata and Tripoli -- will be trained in Italy and the first group arrived on January 10.

"We are learning to train together, to be one entity. It's very important for us to learn how to stay united," said one soldier from Libya, where there have been deep tensions between different cities and regions.

One of the Italian trainers is Captain Francesca Giardulli, who went on an intensive six-month language course, and shouted out her orders in Arabic.

"These are young civilians with no experience in the military and so we really have to train them as if they were newbies," Giardulli told AFP.

Graziano said some of the soldiers fought in the rebellion but others had no experience of combat.

"None of them were in Colonel Kadhafi's army," he said.

Colonel Mohammed Badi leads the Libyan contingent and one of 34 officers and sub-officers in the first group.

"Our mission is the same as it is for all the armies in the world, to guard our borders and to ensure protection and security for our population, as well as collaborating with other countries," he said.

Graziano, a former head of the United Nations monitoring force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, and a commander in Afghanistan, said this type of co-operation was "a
cultural challenge, but it's nothing new for us".

"At the end of the training, the Libyans will speak a bit more Italian... and as for us, we will speak a bit more Arabic," the general said with a smile.
 

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Presented by Home Exchange
Travel & live like a local with Home Exchange
A property listed in Costa Rica on the Home Exchange website. Photo: Home Exchange

Travel & live like a local with Home Exchange

Swap your home, save a fortune, and have a great time in the process. The Local finds why thousands of people from around the world have embraced the Home Exchange phenomenon. READ  

Italy boat rescues 'were not migrant pull-factor'
IOM chief William Lacy Swing rejected on Friday allegations that Italy's migrant rescue mission inspired a surge in migrant numbers. Photo: Lionel Healing/AFP

Italy boat rescues 'were not migrant pull-factor'

The International Organization for Migration rejected on Friday allegations that an Italian operation to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean had inspired a surge in the numbers attempting the perilous journey to Europe. READ  

Cops patrol bus to 'shield' locals from Roma
The controversial bus segregation plan was discussed at the town hall last week. Photo: F Ceragioli/Wikimedia Commons

Cops patrol bus to 'shield' locals from Roma

Police in Borgaro, north-west Italy, are to bolster security on one of the town's bus routes as an alternative to a controversial plan put forward by the town’s mayor to create a bus line only for Roma people. READ  

Italian fined as Ebola joke triggers plane alert
Roberto Binaschi was arrested after getting off an Aer Lingus flight at Dublin airport. Nate Eagelson

Italian fined as Ebola joke triggers plane alert

An Irish court on Friday ordered an Italian man to pay a €2,500 fine for charity after "a sick joke" about Ebola during a flight. READ  

UN fears for migrants as Italy ends rescue mission
Italy has confirmed the end of its boat migrant rescue operation, Mare Nostrum. Photo: HO Italia Navy

UN fears for migrants as Italy ends rescue mission

UPDATED: Italy on Friday confirmed the end of its search and rescue operation "Mare Nostrum", which has saved the lives of tens of thousands of boat migrants in the Mediterranean. READ  

Paolo Gentiloni named Italian foreign minister
Italy's former communications minister Paolo Gentiloni has been nominated foreign minister. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Paolo Gentiloni named Italian foreign minister

Italy's former communications minister Paolo Gentiloni has been nominated foreign minister, his new deputy said on Friday. READ  

Medics fight to save baby in dead mother's womb
Doctors hope to bring the pregnancy to 28 weeks. Baby photo: Shutterstock

Medics fight to save baby in dead mother's womb

UPDATED: Doctors in Milan are battling to save the life of an unborn baby by keeping his mother's heart beating for another month, despite her being brain dead. An expert told The Local the case is "incredibly rare". READ  

Opinion - Italy's South
'Forget the baby bonus, we need investment'
Naples, in Italy's southern Campania region. Naples photo: Shutterstock

'Forget the baby bonus, we need investment'

With births in southern Italy at their lowest rate in over 150 years, The Local spoke to the head of a development organization about what needs to be done to help Italians have a family. READ  

Renzi fights for female FM as Mogherini resigns
Photo: Giuseppe Aresu/AFP

Renzi fights for female FM as Mogherini resigns

Italy's Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini stepped down on Friday, a day before she is set to take on the role of European foreign policy chief in Brussels. READ  

Renzi under pressure as Italy's jobless rate rises
Italy's unemployment rate hit 12.6 percent in September. Photo: Shutterstock

Renzi under pressure as Italy's jobless rate rises

Italy's unemployment rate rose against analysts' expectations in September, increasing the pressure on Prime Minister Matteo Renzi who is battling trade unions over measures to overhaul the job market. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Travel and have a great time with Home Exchange
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles from British Airways
Politics
Quiz: How well do you know Italian politics?
Culture
Ten Rome baristas who brighten your day
Business & Money
Italy bows to EU pressure over budget
Travel
Ten of the best students bars in Rome
National
'Italy is the real sick man of Europe'
Society
Semi-clad tourists dance in priceless fountain
National
Singing nun picks Like a Virgin for debut album
National
Where's the best place to live in Italy?
National
Amorous Italian couple get stuck in frolic at sea
Culture
Test your Italian history with The Local's quiz
Travel
Top ten: Travel warnings for Italy
International
Revealed: The cost of home comforts in Italy
Health
Nurse 'killed 38 patients for being annoying'
Culture
Breaking Balsamic: See US writer's potent parody
Opinion
Is Italy a desirable place for foreigners to work?
Culture
Top ten: Things Italian mothers say
Society
Mayors vow to defy gay marriage registration ban
Travel
How well do you know Italy's geography?
National
Ten Italian 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
Italian student tipped to win British X-Factor
Business & Money
Italy ranked ninth most desirable place to work
Education
Why Milan uni's English switch opened minds
National
The small Sicilian town with nine centenarians
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
National
President's barber: €99k state snippers overpaid
National
Is Italy really a bad place to grow old?
Education
Pisa storms into global uni rankings
National
Unruly Italy is EU's most disobedient country
National
Italy among worst places in EU to grow old
Travel
Brit in bid to set Milan metro travel record
International
Marriage scam: 179 Italian couples claim to live in British mail box
Politics
Italy's state barbers' pay trimmed...to €99,000
Politics
eBay users snub Italy’s luxury official cars
National
Udder joy: Italian man is world's best cow-milker
Business & Money
Chinese fashion titans look to Italy for value
National
Clooney wedding 'good news for the Middle East'
National
QUIZ: Test your Italian language skills
Education
Italy top of the class for teaching English
National
Italians offered €30 a day to host a migrant
Tech
Azerbaijan beats Italy in internet stakes
Society
Marriage scrapped due to 'mummy's boy' husband
Politics
Italy separatists unfazed by Scotland's 'no'
Culture
Ten 'rude' Italian phrases you can get away with
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

656
jobs available