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Libya accused of harbouring Darfur rebels

August 12 - 2015 KHARTOUM
SLM combatants in Darfur (file photo)
SLM combatants in Darfur (file photo)

The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) have summoned the Libyan military attaché about allegation that Libya is harbouring and arming Darfur rebels.

The authorities of Tobruk, a port town in eastern Libya, are reportedly arming rebel combatants of the Sudan Liberation Movement, led by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), to support the Libyan Maj. Gen. Heftar in his fight against the Muslim extremists in his country.

At a press conference in Khartoum on Tuesday, SAF spokesman El Sawarmi Khaled Saad, said that the participation of the rebels in the Libyan conflict represents a threat to Darfur in particular, and to the Sudanese-Libyan border in general.

He said that the SAF has requested the Libyan authorities to “to strip those rebel forces of their arms”.

The SLM-MM however, called the accusations “false and baseless”.

Abdallah Mursal, the spokesman for the movement, told Radio Dabanga that the SLM-MM has no presence in Libya at all, and stressed that “all SLM-MM troops are operating inside Sudan.

“The SAF is only repeating the accusations of the former Sudanese FM Ali Karti that Darfuri combatants are taking part in the Libyan armed conflict.” He warned that this may again lead to the targeting of Darfuris living in Libya.

IS fighters to Libya, Egypt

On 21 July, the London-based Asharq Al Awsat newspaper reported that Islamic state (IS) fighters are entering Libya and Egypt via the tri-border area with Sudan.

The newspaper quoted Eisa Abdelmajid, advisor to the head of the Libyan parliament, who said that an average of 50 vehicles carrying extremist Muslim fighters and arms cross the Sudanese-Egyptian border at Jebel El Oweinat near El Kufra every day.

This happens in addition to the transport of fighters and weapons by air, from Khartoum to Mitiga airport in Tripoli, which is controlled by extremists, he said.

Last year, Libya repeatedly accused Sudan of smuggling militant extremists into the country. Gen. Khalifa Haftar, the leader of Operation Dignity fighting Islamist militias in Libya called Sudan’s position on fighting terrorism in Libya “ambiguous”.

In late September, Libyan border guards intercepted a convoy of vehicles carrying Yemeni fighters into the country via the area of El Kufra on the Sudan-Libya border.

The authorities of El Kufra airport earlier that month grounded a Sudanese military aircraft bound for Tripoli, that was reportedly laden with weapons.

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