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Pentagon: ‘Russian mercenaries in Libya increased sevenfold in three months’

February 13, 2020 at 3:39 am

A Pentagon report revealed that the number of Russian mercenaries associated with the Russian Wagner security company increased significantly in the last quarter of last year in Libya, adding that the Russians worked to support the retired Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar.

This came in a report presented by the Pentagon General Inspector on Tuesday, on counter-terrorism activities in eastern, northern and western Africa, between 31 October and 31 December 2019.

According to Al-Hurra website, the report pointed out that the number of Russian mercenaries increased from 200 in September 2019 to between 800 and 1400 mercenaries at the end of the same year.

On the Russian presence in Libya, the report quoted the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) saying that an increase in the Russian presence in Libya could constitute an obstacle for the US military allies and Washington’s struggle against terrorism.

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According to the report, Russia’s presence in North Africa poses an important challenge to the US and its allies.

The report pointed out that the Russian presence in North Africa constituted an obstacle to the United States’ movements in the southern Mediterranean.

The report added that a US drone was shot down by Russian air defence systems and Russian mercenaries, fighting alongside Haftar on 21 November.

It is noteworthy that the confidential part of the report highlighted the impact of the US presence in the region, due to Haftar’s operations targeting the movement of aircraft there.

The report stated that Washington has limited cooperation relations in the field of combating terrorism, with the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

The report also said that Russia is providing military support and training to West African countries through Wagner and other security companies, substituting Western countries in Africa.