Panafrican News Agency

Libyan and Wagner elements accused of supporting Chadian rebels

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - The president of the Congress of the Toubou tribe in Libya, Issa Abdelmadjid Mansour, accused Libyan and foreign forces, including mercenaries of the Russian group Wagner, of supporting military operations against Chad from Libya.

Quoted in a statement posted on the Facebook page of the US Embassy in Tripoli, Mansour said Wednesday during a meeting with US ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, that "Libyan insiders and foreign forces including the Wagner group are supporting military operations against Chad from Libya.

The two men discussed the importance of holding elections in Libya on 24 December and ensuring fair representation of all indigenous populations in Libya's political structures, the statement said.

The latest armed rebel attack on Chad highlights "the urgent need to consolidate Libya's sovereignty through national elections that will allow the establishment of a strong government capable of securing Libya's borders and building a unified army," the statement added.

A military council under the leadership of the son of the late Chadian president, Mahamat Déby Itno, has been set up in Chad to lead the country during an 18-month transition period, but rebel forces have announced continued operations against the country's regular army.

The Chadian government had claimed on 13 April that the Chadian air force had been chasing Chadian "mercenaries" who had infiltrated the north of the country from Libya for days.

Chadian mercenaries have been deployed for years in several areas of Libya, notably in the south and centre of the country, and UN reports have claimed their involvement in the armed conflict in the country.

The Libyan government of national accord, supported by the UN and the international community, has called for the departure of mercenaries and foreign forces from Libya.

This demand is contained in the ceasefire agreement, reached by the "5+5" military committee in October 2020. The committee called for the departure of mercenaries and forces within 90 days, but so far no progress has been made in implementing this demand, especially since Russia has denied any link with the Wagner group.

-0- PANA AD/IN/JSG/BBA/AR 22April2021