By Sohaila Barghash
The case was uncovered in February, when the Sudanese authorities arrested a group of smugglers and discovered they have signed an agreement with a Libyan tribe loyal to Haftar.
The agreement permitted the general’s forces to train and arm the foreign fighters, while the Sudanese counterparts were promised money in Libyan currency for the transferred men.
However, this is not the first time that Haftar had help from foreign militants; Haftar’s Libyan National Army is suspected to have hired rebels from Chad to help strengthen his control over the country.
Last week, the general’s Benghazi-based Interim Government announced the initiating of an assault on regions in the west of the country, including Tripoli, choosing to ignore warnings from the international community.
Fears of pushing Libya towards a more severe civil war increased, as the Head of the Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, launched Operation “Volcano of Rage” to repel Haftar’s assault, and the two forces started fighting over Tripoli International Airport.
The Ministry of Health as well as health facilities near Tripoli have reported 47 people killed and 181 wounded in recent days, since the launching of the “Flood of Dignity” campaign, led by Haftar.
The current Libyan government is recognized internationally, yet the controversial Libyan general also has some supporters including Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
On Friday, Libyan Brigadier General Mohammad Al-Qunidi, the government’s chief of military intelligence, announced that Haftar was attacking the capital with Egyptian, Emirati and Saudi arms.
The country has been in conflict since the 2011 toppling of Muammar Gaddafi, now a civil war is on the edge and risks of depleting medical supplies rise, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns.
Mainly fighters, but also some civilians including two doctors, were killed in the assaults at the coastal capital.
Earlier this year, the eastern Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of Khalifa Haftar, a former general in Gaddafi’s army, seized southern Libya.
The United Nations, United States, European Union and G7 block have all called for a ceasefire and a return to UN peace plan, although, Haftar ignored their appeals.
On Monday, a warplane attacked Tripoli’s only functioning airport, as the conflict threatens to disrupt oil supplies, boost migration to Europe and scupper hopes for an election to end rivalries between parallel administrations in east and west.
UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said, “The people of Libya have long been caught between numerous warring parties, with some of the most vulnerable suffering some of the gravest violations of their human rights. I appeal to all sides to come together to avoid further senseless violence and bloodshed.”