UAE Based Companies Send Western Mercenaries to Support Haftar's Forces
A UN report published last week revealed information about two UAE-based firms deploying Western mercenaries to Libya to support forces loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar.
According to the publication, Lancaster 6 DMCC and Opus Capital Asset Limited FZE, sent a team of 20 mercenaries to Libya in June 2019 for a “well funded private military company operation”. The two Dubai-based companies also provided Haftar with helicopters, drones and cyber capabilities, explicitly violating the UN arms embargo on Libya.
This is not an isolated case. An Emirati security firm called Blackshield has previously been accused of forcing around 3000 Sudanese recruits to fight as mercenaries in armed conflicts in the MENA region, including Libya. The men had initially been hired to work as security guards in hospitals and malls in the UAE. Instead, they were transferred to Libya for combat, and some to guard oil facilities under the control of Khalifa Hafter.
In February, the UN-backed Government of National Accord announced that around 100 flights from the UAE have illegally imported almost 6,200 tonnes of weapons to Haftar’s forces. Furthermore, according to documents seen by the Financial Times in April, it was reported that nearly 11,000 tonnes of jet fuel had been shipped to Libya from Emirati companies.
The UN has estimated that, as of March 31 2020, 356 civilians have been killed in the armed conflict and 329 have been left wounded. The conflict has also displaced over 150,000 people.