Sudan's Janjaweed militia advances towards Libya's Sirte as battle looms - report
A column of about 70 armed vehicles belonging to Sudan's Janjaweed fighters moved towards the key strategic Mediterranean city of Sirte in support of General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.
Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) earlier said it intends to recapture Sirte, a gateway to Libya’s main oil terminals, and the airbase of al-Jufra, located in the oil region, from forces allied to the eastern Libya-based LNA, which is backed by Russia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Since April 2019, the GNA has been fighting to stave-off an offensive by the LNA to seize capital Tripoli. In recent weeks, LNA forces have suffered heavy losses as Turkey’s military support provided an upper hand to the GNA.
Control of Sirte of some 85,000 people will be decisive for the oil industry, as it is the gateway to the central and eastern oil crescent where much of Libya’s 1 million-plus barrels a day of output were once shipped to world markets.
It currently produces just 90,000 barrels a day, according to a report by Bloomberg in June.
The Janjaweed, who became notorious for atrocities inflicted on the civilian population in Sudan's troubled Darfur region, were dispatched to Libya by UAE, according to Anadolu, who also funded Russian mercenaries and Syrian fighters to join Haftar.