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Libya accuses Sudan of arming 'terrorists' in Tripoli

Sudan says 'has no interest to intervene in the internal Libyan affairs', after Egypt and UAE were also reported to take sides in Libya
Libyan protesters hold placards and national flags during a rally in support of Libyan Dawn (AFP)

Libya has accused Sudan of arming “terrorist” groups within its borders, and has asked the Sudanese military attache to leave the country.

The Libyan government in the eastern city of Tobruk released a statement on Sunday claiming that “Sudan is interfering by supporting a terrorist group.”

"We, the Libyan government, firmly denounce that a Sudanese military plane has penetrated the Libyan airspace without an official permit from the Libyan government. The plane was carrying ammunition which had not been officially approved by the Libyan government," the statement said.

"This work from the Sudanese state violates (the sovereignty) of the State of Libya and interferes with its affairs," the Libyan statement said

The government said the plane was bound for the Tripoli-Matiga airport - currently controlled by Islamists fighters - which had made a refuelling stop in the Libyan desert oasis Kufra near the Sudanese border.

They said ammunition was found on the plane during an inspection at the airport, without saying whether the plane was still in Kufra.

Sudan acknowledged it had sent a military plane, but denied it was sending it to the opposition fighters primarily based in Tripoli, saying it was only intended for the joint Libya-Sudan border force.

“The plane did not carry any material for armed groups in Libya," said Sudan’s official SUNA news agency citing the foreign ministry.

“Sudan has no interest to intervene in the internal Libyan affairs.”

Libya’s descent into armed conflict has made neighbouring countries nervous about the possibility of spillover, or of the state becoming a haven for international terrorism.

As a result, there have been numerous reports of outside interference in Libya’s affairs.

A leaked email correspondence reported by the Noon Post appeared to show requests by the Tobruk government for ammunition and weapons from Egypt.

United Arab Emirates war planes allegedly conducted air strikes launched from Egypt on Islamist fighters in Tripoli in August, though Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri denied this, stressing that Egypt "is not involved in any military action, and nor does it have any military presence in Libya."

Tripoli has been the scene of particularly fierce clashes between the Libya Shield, a coalition of militias, the bulk of which are from Misrata, and rival Al-Qaaqaa and Al-Sawaaq militias over control of the city's vital facilities.

The two militias have locked horns in and around the city since mid-July, almost totally destroying the airport and wreaking havoc in the capital. The fighting left dozens dead and hundreds injured.

Late last month, Libya Shield said it gained full control of the Tripoli airport after flushing out rival militiamen, mainly from Zintan.