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Commandos ready to secure Tripoli embassy

Swiss special forces will officially take over security tasks at Switzerland’s embassy in Libya on Monday, replacing private firm Aegis.

The government’s decision to hire Aegis for over three months was widely criticised in Swiss political circles. Although the company is headquartered in Basel since 2010, it also employs 20,000 mercenaries who are deployed mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan, making it one of the world’s biggest private armies.

The government had justified its choice to employ a private firm with local knowledge to guard the Tripoli embassy because it needed time to draw up an operational plan and reach a decision on whether to proceed.

The cabinet has since drawn up legislation banning private security firms operating in conflict zones or holding companies in this sector from being based in Switzerland.  

The foreign ministry said on Thursday that the Aegis contract will have cost SFr960,000 altogether. The cost to deploy members of the Army Reconnaissance Detachment 10 should be around SFr600,000 for six months.

The embassy in Tripoli is the only Swiss representation abroad where Swiss soldiers will be responsible for security.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR