JUBA/BENGHAZI – South Sudan’s government militia force –Mathiang Anyor – is reportedly fighting alongside the UN-recognized government based in Tripoli, a Libyan official said this afternoon.
Mathiang Anyor is a South Sudan tribal government paramilitary force responsible for the killing of thousands of Nuer civilians in Juba in 2013 that triggered the ongoing civil war.
A Libyan official allied to Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar whose government is based in Bengazi – east of the country – told a news conference this afternoon that two members of the South Sudan militia force were captured during recent fighting in which Haftar tried to capture Tripoli where Prime Minister Faiz al-Saraj’s UN-recognized government is based.
“We have captured two men from South Sudan. They belong to a South Sudanese force called Mathiang Anyor,” the Libyan official said.
He said Haftar’s military intelligence agency was conducting investigations and will write to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who have ties to both Haftar and South Sudan government to advice on the issue.
“Probably South Sudan have ties with Egypt. And also, Egypt is the head of the African Union. We will write to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to advice on the issue because once we confirm that these forces are in fact fighting in our land, it will be a violation of our country’s sovereignty,” the official added.
Fighting has intensified this year as strong man Haftar – who is supported by almost all the Libyans – tried to push for capture of Tripoli to “restore democracy.”
The Turkish government has recently sent troops to fight alongside Saraj’s government in what has been condemned as violation of international laws by many Western, and African governments including Egypt who rather wants a political solution to the 9-year-old conflict.