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Libya grounds Sudan military aircraft in El Kufra

September 8 - 2014 TRIPOLI

Libyan authorities have confirmed the grounding of a military aeroplane coming from Sudan, which was “laden with weapons bound for rebels”.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Libya's newly elected government claimed that the military transport aircraft was heading for Tripoli‘s Mitiga airport, currently under the control of a Islamist militia group.

Tripoli said the aircraft had entered its airspace without permission from the Libyan aviation authority on Thursday, and therefore violated its national sovereignty.

Other sources said that during a routine check at El Kufra airport near the Sudanese-Libyan border, where the aircraft had landed to refuel, ammunition was found.

‘Misunderstanding’

Sudan described the incident as a misunderstanding, saying the aircraft carried equipment for a joint Sudanese-Libyan border force to tackle smuggling and human trafficking.

"The plane did not carry any material for armed groups in Libya," Sudan's army spokesman El Sawarmi Khalid Saad told the pro-government TV channel Ashorooq. He stressed that the Sudanese army is not interfering in Libya.

‘Ambiguous’

Libya has accused Sudan before of interfering in its internal affairs, a claim Khartoum has repeatedly denied. Last week, the Sudanese military attaché in Tripoli was declared persona non grata, and told to leave the country, after he was accused of supporting militia groups in the country.

On 27 June, the Sudanese embassy in Libya’s capital was damaged in an attack by unknown assailants. The Sudanese Ambassador to Libya commented that he was surprised about the attack, as “Sudan has no enemies in Libya”. The Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, fighting Islamist militias in the country, termed Sudan’s position on terrorism in Libya as “ambiguous”.

Related: Sudan embassy in Libya damaged in attack (30 June 2014)

 


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