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Khartoum (MEE) – Sudan said on Sunday it had arrested 122 of its nationals as they were headed for neighboring Libya to fight as “mercenaries”, state media reported.

Libya’s UN-recognised unity Government of National Accord (GNA) has long accused Sudan of sending fighters to back militia commander Khalifa Haftar, who controls much of the country’s east. On Friday, Russian Wagner Group mercenaries and Sudanese Janjaweed militia forced their way into the Sharara oilfield to halt oil exports, Libya’s National Oil Corporation said, as reported by the Daily Sabah.

Sudan, which shares a 330km (200-mile) border with southeastern Libya, has denied allegations that it sends troops to Libya.

State news agency SUNA on Sunday cited Brigadier Jamal Jumaa, spokesman for the Rapid Reaction Forces, saying that “joint security forces detained 122 outlaws including eight children who were heading to fight as mercenaries in Libya”.

Related: Turkish Ambassador Denies Report Claiming Ankara Sent ISIS Fighters to Libya

SUNA published a video showing dozens of youths sitting on the ground, surrounded by military vehicles carrying soldiers armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles.

It said the video was shot in Al-Junayna, the capital of West Darfur Province.

On 10 June, the Sudanese Popular Congress Party called on the government to “line up with the international community in support of the legitimate government in Libya”, the Tripoli-based GNA, the Middle East Monitor reported.

The statement also called on all “external forces” to “desist from supporting the illegal elements of the coup in Benghazi and withdraw all the mercenaries from Libyan soil”.

Related: Libya’s GNA Says it has Regained Control of Capital Tripoli

Sudan’s foreign minister last week said that no Sudanese forces were involved in the conflict in Libya.

In an interview with AFP, Asma Abdalla said: “We cannot get involved in a conflict in any neighboring country.”

This post was originally written for and published by Middle East Eye and appears here with permission.

Image: Pro-government militia in Darfur (Wikimedia CommonsHenry Ridgwell/VOA)

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