New report sheds light on Russian private military group’s operations in Libya

Khalifa HaftarA new documentary aired on Tuesday by the BBC offers new evidence of extensive involvement in Libya by the Wagner Group, a secretive security firm believed to operate on behalf of Russian military intelligence. After first appearing in Ukraine in 2014, the company has been seen to operate around the world as a private paramilitary entity. Its mission is allegedly to afford the Kremlin “plausible deniability” capabilities for operations in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe. As intelNews has explained before, there is evidence that the Kremlin provides payments to Wagner. But concrete information about the secretive firm is hard to come by, and the Russian government strongly denies having links to it.

Now, however, a new television documentary produced by the BBC claims to have uncovered reliable evidence of extensive involvement by Wagner in the Libyan conflict —as well as links between Wagner and the Russian military. Wagner personnel first appeared in Libya in April of 2020, when they were seen operating in support of the Tobruk-based Libyan National Army, commanded by Field marshal Khalifa Haftar. In the spring of 2020, as the conflict was winding down, Wagner group forces retreated from areas south of the city of Tripoli, which were eventually occupied by Haftar’s rival, the Government of National Accord.

The documentary, co-produced by BBC News Russian and BBC News Arabic, is titled “Haftar’s Russian Mercenaries: Inside the Wagner Group”. It is based on the discovery of a Samsung Galaxy tablet, which was left behind in the Tripoli area by a retreating Wagner fighter. According to the BBC the information recovered from the tablet provides “unprecedented insight” into Wagner’s operations in Libya. It includes maps of the terrain in the Russian language, as well as a list of codenames used by Wagner personnel during their operations in the North African country.

Another series of documents recovered from the tablet list weapons used by the group during its operations in Libya. Acceding to the information released online by the BBC, the weapons lists include state-of-the-art radar and other military equipment, which experts claim are “only be available from the Russian military”. The documentary also lays out allegations of war crimes conducted by Wagner personnel in Libya, which include mining and even booby-trapping civilian areas.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 11 August 2021 | Permalink

We welcome informed comments and corrections. Comments attacking or deriding the author(s), instead of addressing the content of articles, will NOT be approved for publication.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: