On Tuesday, a letter was uncovered outlining the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) involvement in the Libyan war, showing how it enabled thousands of Sudanese mercenaries to travel to Libya in support of the putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar.
The letter, which was sent to Corps Commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo on Nov. 6, reported that there are 1,200 Sudanese mercenaries ready to move from a military camp in Sudan's Niyala to the Jufra military base in central Libya.
This confirmed Haftar's demands of military support from the UAE while contradicting Dagalo's previous denials on being a mercenary.
Citing security sources, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported Tuesday that a meeting between the UAE authorities and Dagalo was recently held in Khartoum.
During the meeting, UAE authorities promised financial and military support to Dagalo in return for sending two brigades of Sudanese mercenaries to Libya.
Dagalo reportedly ordered his troops in Southern Darfur to get ready on Oct. 23, to which the troops responded with a letter confirming they had received the command.
Previously, Dagalo had rejected leading an organization of mercenaries and said claims of Sudanese and Janjaweed mercenaries in Libya were baseless.
The security forces pointed at Dagalo's close ties with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, recalling his mercenaries had previously taken part in the war in Yemen against the Houthis as well.
Dagalo is currently the head of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a Sudanese paramilitary group primarily composed of, the Janjaweed militias. The group is considered responsible for many human rights violations, including massacres and rapes, with various rights groups including Human Rights Watch (HRW) having called on it multiple times over the years.
Dagalo was also the deputy head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) following the 2019 Sudanese coup d'etat.
On Dec. 3, the U.N. said the presence of 20,000 foreign mercenaries in Libya causes a "serious crisis."
"That is a shocking violation of Libyan sovereignty ... a blatant violation of the arms embargo," U.N. acting envoy for Libya Stephanie Williams told an online meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum.
The 75-member forum is trying to get Libya's warring sides to agree on a mechanism that would establish a transitional administration to lead the country through presidential and parliamentary elections in December 2021.
The gathering is part of U.N. efforts to end the chaos that engulfed oil-rich Libya after the 2011 overthrowing and killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The country is now split east to west between two rival administrations, each backed by an array of militias and foreign powers. Haftar rules the east and south, while a U.N.-supported government based in the capital of Tripoli controls the west.
Williams' remarks reflect the lack of progress on the departure of foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya, which was part of a cease-fire deal inked in October.
Foreign mercenaries and arms have poured into the country since Haftar launched his offensive, with Russia and the UAE being the putschist general's top suppliers.
Sudanese armed groups from the Darfur region have been fighting on both sides of Libya's conflict, according to a report by U.N. experts.
The Janjaweed militias were used by the Sudanese government to suppress the Darfur insurgency, a campaign that drew charges of genocide against its perpetrators including toppled President Omar al-Bashir.
The Russian Wagner Group, which is owned by businessperson Yevgeny Prigozhin, a figure close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, also sent mercenaries to fight in Libya.
Russia had also been trying to recruit fighters from various Arab tribes in the Hassakeh province, which is jointly controlled by the Syrian regime and the YPG terrorists, to fight in Libya. A similar transfer of some 600 mercenaries from Syria's Homs province took place earlier.
Last week, the Pentagon also claimed that the UAE has been providing funds to the Wagner group in Libya.
According to Foreign Policy magazine, a Pentagon document dated Nov. 25, 2020, confirmed the UAE's ties with the controversial group while stating that it is a "surrogate for the Russian Ministry of Defense." The report also states that there are about 2,000 Wagner mercenaries in Libya and the group's presence in the war-torn country is "ambiguous."
The Kremlin previously denied any involvement with the Wagner group.
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