A BBC investigative report finds involvement in the Libyan civil war by a mysterious Russian armed fighter. It has both war crimes and links to the Russian military.
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A Samsung tablet left behind by armed fighters belonging to the Wagner group reveals how the fighters were involved in the Libyan civil war. including revealing a secret code name that can reach the fighter’s identity
The BBC also found a “order list” of brand-new weapons of the kind that experts say could only be obtained from the Russian military.
However, Russian authorities have denied any involvement with Wagner.
The militant group first appeared in 2014 when supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. after that They have also been involved in conflicts in Syria, Mozambique, Sudan and the Central African Republic.
The Wagner fighters made their first appearance in Libya in April 2019, joining forces of General Khalifa Haftar who led an attack on the government-backed capital of Tripoli. from the United Nations Before the conflict ended with a ceasefire announcement in October 2020.
The group is known to keep their identity very secret. But the BBC had the opportunity to talk to two former fighters from the group.
One fighter said There is little doubt that they killed opposing soldiers captured as prisoners. Evidence has also been released to support previously suspected war crimes, such as the intentional killing of civilians.
A Libyan villager who faked his death while his relatives were killed helped the BBC find out which fighter might have been involved in the killing.
A Libyan man who survived fake death shows a picture of a relative killed by Wagner.
In another case it could be a war crime. One Libyan government soldier said: One of his fellow soldiers had already surrendered to the Wagner clan. But he was shot twice in the stomach. The soldier said he never saw his friend again. and 3 other soldiers were taken with them.
The found Samsung tablet revealed evidence that the fighters also set up bomb traps in civilian areas.
This tablet was left behind by an unknown Wagner fighter. when they retreat from the southern part of Tripoli in the spring of 2020.
There is a map in Russian showing the frontier areas of the battle. This confirmed how much Wagner was stationed in the area. And it gives insights into their action plans.
There is also a drone-recorded video and the codename of the Wagner fighter. The tablet is now kept in a safe place.
BBCMaps in Russian language found on this tablet.
In a 10-page document dated January 19, 2020, which the BBC obtained from Libyan intelligence sources. which was obtained from the Wagner base of operations again. Various weapons and tools purchase items are available.
This document describes the equipment required. “To achieve military goals,” there were four tanks, hundreds of AK-47 guns. and a new radar system
Recently, a military analyst told the BBC: Some of the weapons in this inventory can only be obtained from the Russian army.
by analyzing weapons purchase items and from other documents Experts say the terms “Evro Polis” and “General Director” are linked to wealthy businessman Yevkini Prikochin, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Evro Polis in 2018, saying it was a Russian company hired to “protect” Syrian oil fields. “Controlled or Owned” by Prikochin
Western journalists often point out that Prikochin is connected to the Wagner group. But he has always denied being related to either Evro Polis or Wagner, and a spokesman for Prikochin told the BBC in the same way. Prikoshin commented that he had never heard of the Russians’ human rights abuses in Libya. “I’m sure this is definitely a lie.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry told the BBC that It is doing its best to achieve a ceasefire and a political relief from the Libya crisis. The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that The details of the Wagner story in Libya are based on Most of the “fabrication” is to detract from the credibility of Russian policies in Libya.
What is Wagner? From the words of a former member
This group does not officially exist. But as many as 10,000 armed fighters are believed to have agreed to fight for the group at least once since it began supporting pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s eastern region.
Around 1,000 Wagner fighters are expected to fight alongside General Khalifa Haftar in Libya between 2019 and 2020.
One former fighter told the BBC in Russia that Wagner “is a structure aimed at promoting state interests outside the country’s borders”.
for group members The former fighter said it was “War professionals”, job seekers or people who are passionate about ideology wanting to serve the nation
Another former member told the BBC: There are no clear rules of conduct. If an opposing soldier is captured, there is no useful information to pass on. Or unable to work as a “slave”, it is known how the person will end up.
Audrey Chuprikin, an expert working with the International Council of Russia. The non-profit research center said the Russian government’s stance was “Let them join in on this.[กลุ่มวากเนอร์] And wait to see what the result will be. If it works well, we can use it to our advantage. if it comes out bad We have nothing to do with it.”
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