Tripoli: Five women who were part of Muammar Gaddafi`s elite team of female bodyguards have reportedly claimed they were raped by the deposed Libyan leader.
According to the Sunday Times of Malta, the former bodyguards told a Benghazi-based psychologist they were raped and abused by Gaddafi and his sons, before being tossed aside once the men became "bored" with them.
The details are reportedly being collected by psychologist Seham Sergewa for possible use by the International Criminal Court, which has issued a warrant for the arrest of Gaddafi and his top associates, including son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, for suspected war crimes.
One of the women reportedly said she was blackmailed into joining Gaddafi`s female bodyguard unit after the regime fabricated a story that her brother was caught smuggling drugs into Libya, and he would be imprisoned unless she agreed to join the brigade.
"A pattern emerged in the stories," the Sunday Times of Malta says.
"The women would be first raped by the dictator and then passed on, like used objects, to one of his sons and eventually to high-ranking officials for more abuse before eventually being let go."
The psychologist, Sergewa, has also been investigating claims of systematic rape said to have been committed by pro-Gaddafi soldiers during the conflict.
Since the early 1970s, and until recently, Gaddafi was always surrounded by his female bodyguards, known as his Amazonian guard. They wore camouflage outfits, nail polish and heavy mascara.
The cadre of 30 women pledged oaths of loyalty to him, including a vow of virginity, according to reports.
The women shadowed, and at times took bullets for, Gaddafi; in 1998, one died and two were injured when the Libyan dictator was attacked.
In June, Gaddafi loyalists revealed they were training female soldiers as part of their plan to combat the Libyan rebels.
The Guardian newspaper reported that 500 women of all ages had graduated from a program designed to teach pro-Gaddafi females how to use weapons.
"Libyan women are now joining the armed forces against NATO. We are training them. Their main role is defending homes. We have no plan to send them to the front line. They are not trained for that, and our Army is very effective," Moussa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, told The Guardian.
"We are going to make sure that every mother, the symbol of love and creation, is a bomb, a killing machine," Moussa said.