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On March 13, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya issued a statement of concern at ongoing violence in Sabha, a city in Libya's impoverished south where a flare-up in tensions since late January has to date killed at least six civilians.Both the Sudanese Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement, the two main rebel groups in Sudan's troubled Darfur region, maintain a presence in Libya's lawless south, allegedly in Haftar's employ.Both main factions of the SLA – the forces of Minni Minnawi and Abdel-Wahid al-Nur – are in Libya, and while estimates of their numbers are imprecise, sources interviewed by the U.N. panel stated that Nur's branch alone has 1,500 fighters in Libya at any one time.Haftar has denied using Darfuri militias and accused the Sudanese government of meddling in Libyan affairs. Haftar gambled that the Sudanese government would be incapable of formulating a meaningful response because its reach in Libya is more limited than that of Libya's North African neighbors.This is unlikely to involve military intervention, as apart from a brief incursion into Libya's south in support of anti-Gadhafi revolutionaries in July 2011 there is no precedent or support for Sudanese troops operating in Libya.If Libya's 2018 presidential and legislative elections go ahead as planned, and Haftar becomes the president of Libya, his ties with these forces will ensure that Sudanese–Libyan relations take a nosedive.
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