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Darfur group denies involvement in fighting in east Libya

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September 12, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on Monday has denied participation in the ongoing fighting in east Libya.

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An armoured column of JEM fighting vehicles (file photo Reuters)

On Sunday, forces opposed to Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) launched an attack on three ports, claiming control over oil-exporting facilities held by troops loyal to the GNA.

The attack by General Khalifa Haftar’s forces on terminals in the so-called oil crescent in east Libya is the first armed conflict between Libya’s eastern government and the GNA, which is based in the capital, Tripoli.

Libya’s Oil Installation Guards, Central Branch, spokesman, Ali Al Hassi, on Sunday has accused JEM of participating alongside Haftar’s forces in the attack against the oil facilities.

However, the political advisor to JEM’s chairman, Mahgoub Hussein, stressed that his movement has no presence in the Libyan territory, describing what is going on in Libya as an “internal affair”.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Monday, Hussein said the Libyan warring parties continued to accuse outside parties of involvement in the conflict without providing evidence, demanding Libyan parties to stop throwing baseless accusations at the movement.

The statement pointed out that the source of these accusations is the Sudanese regime, saying the latter seeks to deliberately distort the image of the national resistance forces.

Earlier this year, Sudan foreign ministry reiterated claims that Darfur rebel groups are involved in the Libyan conflict and pointed accusing fingers to unnamed groups saying they support them to achieve personal interests and ambitions.

Hussein underscored that JEM is a Sudanese resistance movement and it is fighting against the regime in Khartoum, saying “we respect Libya’s sovereignty and we don’t interfere in its internal matters”.

JEM says the last time it had presence in Libya was during the Libyan revolution in 2011 when its fighter launched an operation to rescue its founder and late leader Khalil Ibrahim from an assassination plot by the Sudanese intelligence services and extremist groups in Libya.

(ST)

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