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Intel Agencies: ‘No evidence’ of Viagra-fueled Libyan rape campaign

By David Ferguson
Saturday, April 30, 2011 17:16 EDT
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There are conflicting reports out of Libya as to whether or not troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have been engaging in systematic rape-sprees fueled by the prescription anti-impotency drug Viagra. Thursday, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Susan Rice reported to the Security Council that rape is increasingly being used as a weapon against women in rebel areas.

On Friday, diplomats and other U.S. military and intelligence officials denied the claim, citing a lack of evidence. The allegation was first reported by a British newspaper. If it is true that troops have been issued Viagra and urged by their commanders to rape and brutalize women and children in rebel areas, it constitutes a war crime.

However, a report from NBC News states that diplomats questioned about the allegations indicated that Rice provided no evidence for the Viagra allegation, which they said “was made in an attempt to persuade doubters the conflict in Libya was not just a standard civil war but a much nastier fight”.

Rape as an instrument of war has become an increasing focus of the United Nations. U.N. Secretary General Banh Ki-moon has appointed Margaret Wallstrom to act as special envoy on sexual violence during armed conflicts.

Concerns of this kind were initially raised some weeks ago by the account of Eman al-Obaidi. Al-Obaidi was the woman who burst into a journalists’ hotel in Tripoli and told a harrowing tale of the abuse she suffered at the hands of Gaddafi-loyal soldiers.

The International Criminal Court is already investigating incidents from the Libyan uprising with an eye to possible war crimes charges. The Gaddafi government has currently offered a cease-fire, the terms of which have been rejected by rebels and by the NATO alliance.

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
 
 
 
 
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