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  1. ITV Report

Ministry of Defence pays thousands to victims sexually abused by Libyan cadets training in UK

Compensation believed to total tens of thousands of pounds has been paid out by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to victims abused by Libyan military cadets brought to the UK for training.

More than 300 cadets came to Bassingbourn barracks in Cambridgeshire for training in a bid to help stablilise the newly-formed Libyan government after the fall of the military dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

During the exercise in 2014, which cost the UK £13.9 million, several cadets who left the barracks unescorted went on the rampage in Cambridge city centre and carried out a string of sexual attacks.

Two are serving 12 years in prison for raping a man and three others were convicted of sexually assaulting teenage girls.

On Friday, it emerged that the MOD has agreed to pay damages to the rape victim and one of the teenage girls after lawyers argued their human rights had been breached.

While the sum was not disclosed by lawyers Slater and Gordon, it is believed to be tens of thousands of pounds.

Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud and Ibrahim Abugtila behaved like two 'hunting dogs' as they carried out the attack, jurors were told.

Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud and Ibrahim Abugtila were jailed in May 2015 for raping a man at night in Cambridge city centre.

A jury at Cambridge Crown Court, heard they had "behaved like two hunting dogs who had seen a wounded animal".

Three others, Naji El Maarfi, Mohammed Abdalsalam and Khaled El Azibi, admitted sexual assaults on four women on the same night and were also jailed.

One of their victims said: "I was subjected to a degrading attack by these men that has traumatised me.

"I just hope that lessons are learned from what happened and nothing like this happens again."

Naji El Maarfi, Khaled El Azibi and Mohammed Abdalsalam were jailed for sexual assaults on women. Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

Following the incidents, the MOD sent the 300 soldiers back to Libya, ending an agreement to put 2,000 soldiers through basic infantry and junior command training.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told Parliament at the time there were "things we could have done better" and admitted regrets over the way it was handled.

The MOD ended the agreement to train Libyan cadets after the incidents. Credit: PA

Kim Harrison, a human rights lawyer from Slater and Gordon who represented both victims, said: "Our clients were subjected to terrifying and degrading attacks but they are determined to rebuild their lives.

"Hopefully, now the Ministry of Defence has settled this case, they will both be one step closer to getting some closure over these unimaginably traumatic events."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Compensation payments have been made to two people treated appallingly by several Libyan cadets being trained in the UK.

"We have previously expressed regret that there were things we could have done better with this programme."