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British mercenaries flee after 'botched operation' backing rebel leader in Libya, secret UN report

Six British citizens including two former Royal Marine commandos have been accused of taking part in a botched mercenary mission to Libya to fight on behalf of renegade general Khalifa Haftar.

Image credit: The Telegraph

The five men and one woman are named in a confidential report by the United Nations panel of experts on Libya into a botched mission that ended with the mercenaries making a remarkable sea-borne escape after falling out with their hosts.

The men, including former Royal Marines Sean Callaghan Louw and Andrew Scott Ritchie, were among around 20 mercenaries who travelled to Benghazi in eastern Libya in June 2019 in a contract organised by a UAE based company called Opus, according to the report seen by the Daily Telegraph.

Amanda Perry, a United Arab Emirate based businesswoman, is identified and is alleged to have been a "facilitator" of the project.

She is the managing director of Opus Capital Asset FZE, the company that hired two boats used by the group. She is also company secretary of Lancaster 6, a business owned by Christiaan Durrant, a former Australian fighter pilot and Malta resident who is also named - and accused of being a facilitator in the report.

The cover story for their mission, called 'Project Opus', was a geophysical and hyperspectral survey of Jordan.

As the report says, UN investigators believe that that they had been hired by General Haftar's Libyan National Army to fly assault helicopters and use fast speedboats to intercept and search merchant vessels ferrying Turkish weapons to Tripoli.

The project cost at least nearly $18 million (£14.7 million) and involved 25 individuals from six countries, tasked with providing "armed assault rotary wing aviation (including 6 ex-military helicopters and at least 1 Cobra attack helicopter), maritime interdiction... a Fusion and Targeting Cell with a cyber capability at Benina airport and UAV capabilities," said a summary of the report according to the reports.


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