Sudanese oil guards in Libya under investigation


Sudan is investigating Sudanese men transferred to Libyan oil facilities after being hired as guards by an Emirati company.

Sudan’s foreign ministry is looking into the case after family members gathered outside the ministry building in Khartoum to protest amid a heavy security presence.

The families also demonstrated outside the Emirati embassy in Khartoum for a second time.

Two protesters said their relatives travelled to the United Arab Emirates to work for a security company as guards.

They were transferred to Ras Lanuf oil terminal in Libya, before returning to the UAE after protests about them in Sudan.

Ras Lanuf is an oil port that has been blockaded since January 18 by groups loyal to Khalifa Haftar, an eastern-based Libyan commander fighting to take control of the capital from the internationally recognised government.

The UAE is Haftar’s most important supporter in the conflict. Haftar is also supported by Egypt, Jordan and Russia, while his rivals are backed by Turkey.

The UAE is a prominent player in Sudan, with close ties to top military officials who toppled former President Omar al-Bashir last year.

Sudan sent troops to fight in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, in which the UAE also participated, though Sudan’s transitional government, which is sharing power with the military, is drawing down its presence.

Sudan’s foreign ministry is working with Emirati authorities to investigate the guards transferred to Libyan oil facilities despite being hired on contracts that made no mention of Libya.

Emirati officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Foreign fighters and guards including Sudanese are on both sides in Libya, as they battle to control territory and strategic sites including oil ports and fields across the country.

The oil blockade saw Libya’s production to plunge from about 1,2 million barrels per day (bpd) to less than 300 000 bpd.