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UAE officers work closely with Darfur groups in Libya: UN experts

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From the left, commanders Juma Haggar, Ismail Wad Habouba, Haroun Tawila in Zillah, April 2020 (UN experts photo)
February 2, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Intelligence officers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are working closely with Darfur armed groups in Libya, said the U.N. Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Darfur in its latest report.

Since several years, the panel which monitors compliance with a 2005 UN arms embargo for Darfur says that armed groups are working with the warring parties in Libya who provide them with money and weapons they bring to Darfur in violation of UN resolutions.

In their last report dated 13 January 2021, the panel said the armed groups consolidated their relations with the Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar and developed direct contact with the UAE officers, his main supporters.

Darfur groups leading commanders such as Juma Haggar of Minni Minnawi, his deputy Jabir Ishag, and Mahamat Bakhit "Doydoy" of Musa Hilal’s SRAC militia held regular meetings in Benghazi between September and November 2021.

"The main focus of those meetings was the logistical and financial needs of the movements and how the United Arab Emirates would contribute in this regard," reads the report seen by the Sudan Tribune.

"In the last week of November 2020, several Emirati officers visited the camps of the movements in Jufrah region, to assess which forces would stay in or leave Libya after the signing of the Agreement," further report the monitors to demonstrate the role they play with the Darfur groups.

The panel also underscored that the UAE officers developed direct contacts with the Darfurian commanders and invited them to Abu Dhabi.

"During those visits, the commanders reportedly met members of the United Arab Emirates security apparatus," said the monitors.

Darfur armed groups except the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) signed a peace agreement with the Sudanese government in Juba on 3 October 2020.

Based on their meetings with the commanders of the armed groups, the experts say that a large number of Darfurian fighters are poised to stay in Libya.

Through their presence in Libya, they continue to secure more money and have a place outside Sudan if the implementation of the peace agreement faced any problem.

The report says the Libyan army and UAE encourage them to remain in Libya as they play an important role on the ground.

Nest for outlaws

The report sheds light on the situation in Libya which now hosts wanted people and outlaws who in the future many destabilize the political stability in Sudan and Darfur particularly.

The monitors disclose that Abdallah Banda who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) abounded his gold-mining activities in Darfur and moved to Chad in 2019.

After what he established an armed group, the Assembly of the Justice and Equality Movement forces and went to Libya after his expulsion by the Chadian authorities in March 2020.

Banda is now working with the Libyan National Army.

The report also underlines the presence of the leaders of the former janjaweed militia groups who operated under the leadership of Musa Hilal, an Arab tribal leader now is arrested by his former aide and deputy chairman of the Sovereign Council Mohamed Hamdan Daglo Hemetti.

"Musa Hilal’s SRAC has several hundred fighters in Libya," reads the report. The monitors say the Sudanese militiamen were working the Libyan National Army under the umbrella of Libyan Mahamid before to establish their direct contact with the Libyan army of Haftar.

The presence of the Darfurian Arab militiamen has been a source of concern for Hemetti because they represent a source of potential danger to him.

"According to various sources, Hemetti would aim to solve this issue by striking informal deals with individual SRAC commanders to convince them to return, not through an official political deal with SRAC, which would give more visibility to Hilal’s cause," say the experts.

(ST)

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