Sudan Arrests “Mercenaries” En Route to Libya

  • “Joint security forces detained 122 outlaws including eight children who were heading to [fight as] mercenaries in Libya.”
  • Sudanese Foreign Minister Asma Mohamed Abdalla distanced her country from the ongoing conflict in Libya.
  • The United Nations said last year that some countries that support the warring factions in Libya violated the arms embargo.

Sudanese authorities announced that they had arrested 122 people who were on their way to Libya to “work as mercenaries,” according to the official SUNA news agency. The Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) has long accused Sudanese mercenaries of supporting the forces of Khalifa Haftar.

The Second Libyan Civil War is an ongoing conflict among rival factions seeking control of Libya. The conflict is mostly between the House of Representatives, which appointed Marshal Khalifa Haftar as commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army with the mission of restoring its sovereignty over the whole of Libyan territory, and the Government of National Accord, led by Fayez al-Sarraj, based in the capital Tripoli.

The Sudanese government has denied this. The conflict continues between the GNA, recognized by the United Nations and headquartered in Tripoli, and a parallel government based in the east of the country, supported by the strongman, Haftar.

Yesterday, the Sudan News Agency quoted Brigadier Jamal Jumaa, a spokesman for the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, that “joint security forces detained 122 outlaws including eight children who were heading to [fight as] mercenaries in Libya.”

Juma added that “the Rapid Support Forces arrested a group of 243 people last February in both Al-Fasher and Al-Geneina, and were brought to justice.” El Fasher and El Geneina are located in the troubled Darfur region, in western Sudan, which is located in the far north of the Libyan border.

A video was seen on a website showing dozens of young men sitting on the ground surrounded by military vehicles in which soldiers were armed with Kalashnikovs. The video was filmed in Al-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur State, located near the Sudanese-Chadian border.

In an interview with AFP last Tuesday, Sudanese Foreign Minister Asma Mohamed Abdalla distanced her country from the ongoing conflict in Libya. “We cannot get involved in a conflict in any neighboring country,” she said.

Turkey and the GNA

Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar is a Libyan-American military officer and the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), which, under Haftar’s leadership, replaced nine elected municipal councils by military administrators, and as of May 2019, was engaged in the Second Libyan Civil War.

For its part, the United Nations said last year that some countries that support the warring factions in Libya violated the arms embargo after the Berlin Conference, without specifying these countries.

French President Emmanuel Macron directly accused his Turkish counterpart of not fulfilling the promises he made at an international conference on Libya after the arrival of Turkish warships and Syrian fighters in Libya.

However, Turkey denies sending Syrian fighters to Libya, and blamed France for the situation in Libya. “It is no longer a secret for anyone that this country [France] is providing unconditional support to the forces of Haftar, to be the word on Libya’s natural resources,” a spokesperson for the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hamis Aksavi, said in a statement.

Aksavi added that the support of Paris and other countries for Haftar, who is launching an attack against the “legitimate government,” is “the greatest threat to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Libya.”

In turn, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the GNA, Muhammad al-Qiblawi, denied the presence of Syrian fighters in the ranks of the GNA’s forces.

In previous statements, reported by news sources on February 6, he explained the cooperation with Turkey by saying, “our agreement with the Turkish state to send experts was for the purpose of training our personnel in Tripoli.”

However, the Libyan National Army, led by Haftar, not only accuses Turkey of sending ex-fighters in Syria but also accuses it of transferring weapons to National Accord Forces fighters, as stated in one of the National Army tweets via his Twitter account.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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