UAE dispatched mercenaries to help rebels in Libya: UN report
A confidential report by the United Nations says two private military companies based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have sent foreign mercenaries to support Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar in his offensive to seize the country’s capital Tripoli.
The report, which was prepared by a UN Panel of Experts and accessed by the American news outlet Bloomberg, said that the foreign mercenaries were affiliated with the Dubai-based firms of Lancaster 6 DMCC and Opus Capital Asset Limited FZE — both registered at free zones in the UAE.
Libya has been in chaos since 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged in Libya, namely the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and another group based in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by Haftar’s rebels.
The strongman, who is primarily supported by the UAE, Egypt, and Jordan, launched a deadly offensive to capture Tripoli, the seat of the government, in April last year. His forces have been bogged down on the city’s outskirts.
According to the UN, hundreds of people have been killed and more than 200,000 have been displaced as a result of the offensive.