Cambridgeshire

Two Bassingbourn Libyan soldiers admit Cambridge sex attacks

Bassingbourn Barracks
Image caption Libyan troops first arrived for training in Bassingbourn in June

Two Libyan soldiers have admitted sexually assaulting women in Cambridge.

Ibrahim Naji El Maarfi, 20, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault. Mohammed Abdalsalam, 27, also admitted two counts of sexual assault. The attacks took place on Sunday.

Khaled El Azibi, 18, has also been charged with three counts of sexual assault. He did not enter a plea.

All three are undergoing training at Cambridgeshire's Bassingbourn Barracks, the Ministry of Defence confirmed.

El Maarfi also pleaded guilty to one count of indecent exposure and stealing a bicycle when he appeared at Cambridge Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

Abdalsalam also admitted using threatening behaviour towards a police officer and theft of a bicycle.

'Civilian police matter'

Mr El Azibi is expected to appear at Cambridge Crown Court on 4 November.

A date has yet to be set for sentencing El Maarfi and Abdalsalam.

All three were remanded in custody.

A spokesperson for the British Army confirmed on Tuesday that three Libyan soldiers based at Bassingbourn had been detained in connection with "offences relating to incidents in Cambridge".

"This is a matter for the civilian police and it would not be appropriate to comment any further at this stage. We have a close working relationship with the Cambridgeshire Police and will continue to assist them in any inquiries," he added.

The UK Government announced last year it had offered to train up to 2,000 cadets to ensure Libya's transition to democracy and its security.

More than 300 armed forces personnel arrived at the barracks from Libya in June for training in basic infantry skills and junior leadership skills.

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