MP Julian Huppert backs our lighting petition

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has signed our rapidly growing petition for better park lighting whilst MOD sends Libyan soldiers packing

alex davis andrew lansley mp bassingbourn barracks cambridge market square claudia leong julian huppert libya Ministry of Defence rape culture sex attack

Huppert was joined by Councillor Ed Cearns, who represents Cambridge’s Market ward, in adding his voice to over 1500 signatures.

Mr. Huppert, speaking to Cambridge News, called for “urgent” action and added:

“Some people clearly don’t feel safe walking through parts of the city at night and that is not acceptable.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence has now confirmed that more than 300 Libyan Army cadets being trained at Bassingbourn will be sent home early.

Bassingbourn Barracks, where Libyan soldiers are being trained

The news comes in the wake of two Libyan soldiers being charged with the rape of a young man on Christ’s Pieces on Sunday.

Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud, 33, and Ibrahim Abogutila, 22, were charged with rape on Monday night. Both men appeared at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

In a statement, the MOD said:

“Training was initially expected to last until the end of November but we have agreed with the Libyan government that it is best for all involved to bring forward the training completion date. The recruits will be returning to Libya in the coming days.”

The BBC reported that the Ministry of Defence and Home Office originally barred Libyan recruits from unescorted trips outside training grounds, although these regulations were later relaxed.

This August, reports emerged that villagers in Bassingbourn had seen Libyan troops leaving the barracks and wandering around unaccompanied.

Tensions led to Andrew Lansley, MP for South Cambridgeshire, calling on the Ministry of Defence to end its contract with the Libyan armed forces following last week’s brutal sex attacks.

Angry Andrew

Angry Andrew

Since June, 300 Libyan cadets have been training at Bassingbourn Barracks, with the contract stipulating that up to 2000 Libyan soldiers would be trained in Cambridgeshire over 15 months.

Police have investigated reports of 10 sexual assaults in Cambridge within nine days. Attacks on women were reported in Mill Road, Jesus Green, Rose Crescent, Grand Arcade and Market Square.

Despite the recent sex attacks, Cambridge County Council intend to reduce street lighting in public places as part of cost cutting measures. You can sign our petition against this here.