Russia’s Wagner group is increasingly pressuring tribes in Libya’s south to support putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar as the latter’s role diminishes with Libya entering a new political path toward normalization and ending the country’s decadelong war.
Sources on the ground told Daily Sabah that the Wagner group through pressuring tribes that want to support the recently elected Government of National Unity (GNU), is attempting to help Haftar.
The sources highlighted that Wagner used the argument of fighting Daesh in pressuring the tribes saying that if they do not support the warlord, “we will open war on you on the pretext of fighting the Daesh terrorist organization.”
The group is currently receiving training in Syria and will be sent to eastern Libya’s Benghazi toward the end of April.
Russia has been one of the biggest supporters of the warlord along with France, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who also backed Haftar’s offensive on the capital Tripoli in 2019.
Formed back in 2014 in Ukraine and owned by businessperson Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner Group is intensely involved in several conflicts.
The group made its presence most pronounced in Syria and Libya, where Russia actively participated in the civil war and reportedly used the Wagner Group as its proxy in the region. Although Russia officially does not acknowledge any cooperation with the Wagner Group, the reports from the field prove otherwise.
In Libya, Russia has backed Haftar in his fight to seize power from the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), which preceded the newly elected interim government under Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.
The deadline for the departure of foreign mercenaries from Libya under the October cease-fire passed in January but calls to accelerate the process continue as no movement has been announced or observed on the ground.
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