INTRODUCTION: The army of the Libyan Jamahiriyah is increasing its force by training teenage girls at the al-Manar school in the capital, Tripoli.
CU PULL BACK TO LV Sign over gateway to al-Manar training school in Tripoli
CU PULL BACK TO LV INTERIOR Emblem in classroom with instructor teaching class (2 shots)
SV & CU Women in uniform at desks
SV Another instructor showing cutaway of dummy missile PAN TO women in class (2 shots)
SCU PAN Woman replying to questions
EXTERIOR Women in steel helmets and carrying rifles running across parade ground and forming into lines (2 shots)
SV & CU Woman instructor with sub-machine gun (3 shots)
GV PAN & SV Squad of girls on parade ground (2 shots)
SV Women being instructed on anti-tank weapons
CU Woman watching other trainees lying behind machine gun (2 shots)
SV Women marching off parade ground
SV TILT DOWN Missile moving on gantry
SV & CU Instructor telling trainees about missile (3 shots)
GV Missile with trainees around it
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The army of the Libyan Jamahiriyah is increasing its force by training teenage girls at the al-Manar school in the capital, Tripoli. Those who graduate are equipped to supplement the 35,000-man regular army, whose ranks also include Pakistanis, Palestinians and other Arab nationals.
SYNOPSIS: This is the school where the girls daily receive their training.
Regular army officers supervise the training which the country's leaders say has been "decreed by the authority of the people". A spokesman for the Secretariat of Information described their training as part of the women's revolution in the country.
For a nation of less than three million people, the Libyan Jamahiriyah has an expensive and formidable arsenal of weaponry -- whose intricate workings and performance are explained to the trainees. Their leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, has been accumulating the arsenal of Soviet and French-built weapons since he came to power in 1969. He has said he wants to build up his armed forces to number at least half a million.
But observers contend the Libyans themselves are generally not sophisticated enough to use and maintain modern weaponry. Hence the importation of Arabs from elsewhere, plus some three thousand advisers from the Soviet Union and East European countries.
There are community reasons for training these young women. The introduction of conscription several years ago carried a threat of potential economic chaos, with more and more young men being called away from their jobs.
Military training is a projection of the growing involvement that women have been taking in public affairs since the revolution of twelve years ago. There are for women 20 associations and 30 revolutionary formations throughout the country, plus the General Women's Federation in Tripoli. As well as education families in social, cultural and hygienic subjects, they also train young women in marital arts.
Colonel Gaddafi needs a growing number of soldiers. Gripped by a sense of revolutionary mission in Pan-Arab and Pan-Islamic affairs, he has -- according to Western sources -- intervened in some 45 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, and even Latin America. There have been reporters that one force called the Pan-African Legion and containing other Arabs and black Africans, played a big role in Colonel Gaddafi's recent victory in Chad.