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Libyan Health Concerns Linked to War Mercenaries

Libyan Health Concerns Linked to War Mercenaries

Tuesday, 31 March, 2020 - 11:15
A police patrol in Benghazi, Libya | AFP
Cairo- Asharq Al-Awsat

Warring sides in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, exchanged accusations about importing mercenaries from Syria and other African countries. This, according to sources, could help in spreading the new coronavirus given that incoming mercenaries aren’t being checked for the virus.

Libyan lawmaker Mohammed Amer al-Abbani said that the Government of National Accord (GNA) will be responsible for the spread of the coronavirus because it is bringing into the country unchecked mercenaries to fight by its side.

“It must not be forgotten that the group of mercenaries being brought into the country come from poor living conditions and could be carrying the coronavirus,” Abbani told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“What is more dangerous is that the mercenaries move around and mingle with citizens,” he added.

Libya’s GNA has accused a Syrian airline of exposing the war-torn country to coronavirus by flying mercenaries into the eastern city of Benghazi, controlled by the military leader General Khalifa Haftar.

Health Ministry Spokesman Fawzi Wanis accused the Haftar-led Libyan National Army (LNA) of importing foreign mercenaries to fight in Libya, noting that a number of corpses kept in hospitals can prove that.

The presence of Syrian mercenaries in Libya could “cause a health disaster” due to their activities in other parts of the Middle East, such as Iran, where coronavirus infections are already widespread, the GNA’s interior ministry said last week.

LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari also spoke of cases of coronavirus infected combatants who came from Turkey and are currently held up at the Mitiga International Airport, which is operated by the GNA.

“Our reliable sources inside the Mitiga International Airport confirm that about 20 Syrian mercenaries have been detained on suspicion of being infected with the coronavirus, and they have been transferred to Al-Rahba camp in Tajoura,” Mismari posted on Facebook last week.

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