Recruiting mercenaries in the internal Libyan conflict has become the primary source of revenue for armed groups from the Darfur region west of Sudan, the United Nations said in a report Friday.
The report, prepared by the United Nations experts tasked with monitoring the arms embargo imposed on Sudan, added that the guns-for-hire deals had been facilitated by the United Arab Emirates.
"Several sources within the movements said the money and support were discussed and agreed upon in meetings between their military commanders and UAE representatives in Libya."
It noted that thousands of Sudanese mercenaries are working with Khalifa Haftar's militias.
"Most Darfurian armed groups continued to work for the Libyan National Army in Libya during the reporting period, securing areas and manning checkpoints. In exchange for these tasks, the five main movements, including the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi, the Sudan Liberation Forces Assembly, the Sudan Liberation Army-Transitional Council, the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid Nur and the Sudanese Revolutionary Awakening Council received payments and logistical support,” the UN experts confirmed.
They said the payments were provided by the UAE and channeled to the movements by the "Libyan National Army" (Khalifa Haftar's forces), which also took a cut.
According to the UN experts, the UAE officials were confronted last November with allegations of providing financial and military support to forces in Darfur (in Sudan and Libya), but they referred to their country's "moderate stance and its fight against extremism and hate speech”.
Several small groups of Sudanese mercenaries stationed in Libya had shown willingness to engage in peace talks and return to Sudan, the report indicated, recommending the international community “provide funds to Sudan and other relevant countries” to avoid destabilizing the region.