20 – 27 April: US Ambassador Norland speculates on Wagner role in Chad conflict

Apr 28, 2021 | International actors

This week the Chadian rebel group, Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT’s), incursion into Chad continued to prompt questions on international and Libyan involvement.

On 24 April, Asharq Alawsat reported an interview with the US Ambassador Richard Norland in which he stated that he believed that some members of the Chadian rebel group Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT) were trained by the Russian private military contractor (PMC), Wagner, in Libya. He cited unconfirmed reports that Wagner contractors were present in the FACT convoy that advanced into northern Chad.

On 26 April, Amnesty International said that military courts in eastern Libya have convicted hundreds of civilians in ‘secret and grossly unfair military trials, aimed at punishing real or perceived opponents and critics of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) and affiliated armed groups’. Amnesty claimed that at least 22 were sentenced to death and hundreds of others to imprisonment between 2018 and 2021. It called on the GNU to put an end to the military trial of civilians, and order investigations into crimes under international law committed by armed groups.

Last week, the “Libya Stabilization Act” passed the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) without opposition. The law gives the U.S. President the ability to impose sanctions on those actors deemed to be supporting mercenaries in Libya and violating the UN’s arms embargo. It also makes it mandatory for the State Department to present a report to the Congress about the current political and security situation in Libya focusing on foreign mercenaries and armed elements in the country. The bill also proposes $23 million in aid to strengthen civil society in Libya.