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Blackwater founder denies sending mercenaries to support Haftar in Libya

Erik Prince, Chairman, the Prince Group, LLC and Blackwater USA, holds up a picture of a Blackwater SUV hit by a suicide car bomb in Mosul, Iraq, in 2005, as he testifies during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., private security contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan on 2 Oct. 2007. [Bill Putnam/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
Erik Prince, Chairman, the Prince Group, LLC and Blackwater USA, holds up a picture of a Blackwater SUV hit by a suicide car bomb in Mosul, Iraq, in 2005, as he testifies during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., private security contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan on 2 Oct. 2007. [Bill Putnam/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Blackwater founder and former CEO Eric Prince denied playing any role in sending mercenaries to support the forces of renegade General Khalifa Haftar in Libya.

This came in response to a classified report by UN investigators, which said that Prince, who is close to former US President Donald Trump, sent mercenaries to support Haftar during his endeavour to overthrow the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and control the capital, Tripoli.

In response, Prince said: "The results of the United Nations investigation are completely wrong," noting that he was not an adviser to Trump, and that he met him only once while he was in office, and never discussed the situation in Libya or any other political issue with the former president, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, or with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Prince indicated that he had not met Haftar and he was not in Egypt in 2019, pointing out that he had not seen the United Nations report and the allegations against him.

READ: A breakthrough in Libya, or just too much ado about nothing?

The classified report concluded that the former head of Blackwater, which provides private security services, violated the arms embargo imposed on Libya by sending mercenaries equipped with attack drones, warships and cyber war capabilities to support Haftar in eastern Libya in 2019, during the offensive on Tripoli and other areas to the west of the country.

According to the United Nations report, the operation, which cost $80 million, included plans made by mercenaries to form an armed group to pursue and kill Libyan military leaders.

Haftar's military campaign, launched in April 2019, failed to topple the GNA and seize control of Tripoli. With the help of Turkish forces, the GNA was able to push Haftar's forces back and regain control of all its areas in June 2020.

Following Haftar's withdrawal, GNA forces uncovered numerous mass graves of civilians and others who had been killed by the former general's forces.

The GNA accuses Haftar of ordering the mercenaries to commit war crimes in Libya.

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