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Classified UN report says Blackwater tried to overthrow Libya government

Erik Prince, former chief executive officer of Blackwater Worldwide, attends a wreath laying ceremony with US President Donald Trump, not pictured, at the Eternal Light Monument in Madison Square Park during the Veteran's Day parade in New York, U.S., on 11 Nov. 2019. [Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
Eric Prince, former chief executive officer of Blackwater Worldwide, attends a wreath laying ceremony with US President Donald Trump, not pictured, at the Eternal Light Monument in Madison Square Park during the Veteran's Day parade in New York, U.S., on 11 Nov. 2019. [Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

A classified report prepared by UN investigators revealed that the founder of the private security company Blackwater, Eric Prince, violated the arms embargo in Libya and tried to overthrow the internationally recognised government twice in 2019, Reuters reported.

The report was submitted by the UN investigators to the UN Security Council.

The report stated, according to Anadolu Agency, that Prince offered to send mercenaries to renegade General Khalifa Haftar, during a meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo, ten days after launching the military operation to control Tripoli on 4 April 2019.

The report confirmed that after the meeting, Prince sent "foreign mercenaries, attack aircraft and gunboats" to Haftar.

The report revealed that the mercenary force sent by Prince, who is a former United States Navy commando, had planned to form a team to track down and assassinate Libyan leaders.

According to the report, Prince is the brother of Betsy DeVos, former education secretary in Donald Trump's administration.

The UN report raised questions about whether Prince benefited from his connection with the Trump administration to launch his operation in Libya, the cost of which was estimated to be $80 million.

READ: Libyan minister's assassination attempt 'well-planned'

As part of the military operation called "Project Opus", there were also plans to kidnap and kill prominent Libyan figures, including Commander Abdul Rauf Kara, and two other commanders who hold Irish passports.

The UN report revealed that three companies namely, Lancaster 6 DMCC, L-6 FZE and Opus Capital Asset Limited FZE were hired to plan and manage the implementation and financing phase of the operation.

The United Nations experts accused these companies and their executives, who are security experts, of violating the arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council on Libya.

Military helicopters intended to support Haftar's offensive were to be purchased from Jordan. However, Jordanian authorities suspended the deal on 18 June 2019, when they learned of the plan, which prompted Prince to head to South Africa.

According to the report, Prince's second attempt to overthrow the legitimate government was when mercenary teams from Operation Project Opus were deployed in April and May 2020 to destroy major targets in Libya.

However, the purchase of aircrafts that were supposed to participate in battles was cancelled under the pretext that the planes would be targeted by the air defence systems of the Government of National Accord (GNA), according to the UN report.

According to US media, the accusation that Prince violated the arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council on Libya exposes him to possible sanctions by the United Nations, including travel bans and freezing his bank accounts and assets, although this is not certain, reported the New York Times.

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AfricaAsia & AmericasInternational OrganisationsJordanLibyaMiddle EastNewsSouth AfricaUNUS
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