Russia’s Wagner is pressing Libya’s southern tribes

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Russia’s Wagner group is increasingly pushing tribes in southern Libya to support Putist general Khalifa Haftar as the latter declines with Libya embarking on a new political path towards normalization and ending the country’s decadelong war.

Sources on the ground told the Daily Sabah that the Wagner group is trying to help Haftar through pressing tribes that want to support the newly elected government of national unity (GNU).

Sources stressed that Wagner used the argument to fight Daesh when he pressured the tribes, saying that if they do not support the warlord, “we will open war on you under the pretext of fighting the Daesh terrorist organization.”

Recently, sources stated that the mercenary group is also preparing to send 300 Syrian fighters from Bashar Assad’s regime-controlled Deir el-Zour to fight with Haftar.

The group is currently training in Syria and will be sent to eastern Libya’s Benghazi towards 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 supported Haftar’s offensive against the capital Tripoli in 2019.

The Wagner Group was formed in 2014 in Ukraine and is owned by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin and 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 does not officially recognize any cooperation with the Wagner Group, reports from the field show otherwise.

In Libya, Russia has supported Haftar in its struggle to seize power from the UN-recognized National Accord Government (GNA), which preceded the newly elected caretaker government under Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.

The deadline for the alien of foreign mercenaries from Libya during the ceasefire in October passed in January, but calls to speed up the process continue as no movement has been announced or observed on the ground.

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