By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 21 July 2017:
Darfuri rebels are fighting alongside Khalifa Hafter’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and have done so for a considerable time, the Sudanese army has claimed.
Ahmed Al-Shami, a Sudanese army spokesman, said “mercenaries” who had fled Darfur after their defeat by the Sudanese army had gone to Libya after being promised weapons and money.
In particular, the rebels have been active in Kufra and elsewhere, and were exploiting the political vacuum in Libya and its southern regions to find a safe haven, Shami said.
He dismissed accusations by LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari that Sudan was part of a “triangle” of terrorism that included Turkey and Qatar. Shami claimed that Mismari was trying to divert attention from the LNA’s links to Darfuri rebels.
Allegations of Su danese, particularly Darfuri, involvement in fighting in Libya – on all sides – have been made regularly.
A UN report last month said that former commanders of the Darfuri rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), had confirmed the allegations about forces operating in Libya. The UN also said it had received reports that SLA fighters were at Hafter’s former headquarters in Marj in October 2016. SLA troops could number as many as 1,500 the report added.
There have been other reports putting the number higher. For its part, the LNA accused its opponents in the Benghazi Defence Brigades of using Sudanese as well as Chadian mercenaries. Sudanese fighters were also reported among those fighting with the militants inside Benghazi against the LNA.
The Sudanese government, which has been regularly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, has so far firmly supported the Presidency Council.
Last month Khartoum stepped reinforced its military presence on its Egyptian and Libyan borders. It accused both Egypt and the Libyan authorities in the east of allowing Darfuri rebels to move back into north-western Sudan.