SHADOWY Russian mercenaries planted mines to blow up civilians and executed prisoners in Libya, it has been claimed.
Soldiers from the Wagner Group are not formally part of the Kremlin’s military but have been used by Vladimir Putin to expand his empire.
Wagner is reportedly linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former hotdog salesman known as "chef" for providing catering to the Kremlin though he has denied any involvement with them.
They were used by Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar, when he launched an attack on the UN-backed government in the capital, Tripoli.
Two of the group’s fighters have now told a BBC documentary about the group’s brutality and the type of person who was willing to join up.
One freely admitted prisoners were killed saying: "No-one wants an extra mouth to feed."
The documentary ‘Haftar's Russian Mercenaries: Inside the Wagner Group’ also unearthed evidence of war crimes.
One Libyan villager describes how he played dead as his relatives were killed and testimony helped the BBC team identify a suspected killer.
Earlier this year, satellite pics revealedhow the Wagner Group in Libya is bristling with enough tanks and planes to wipe out an army.
A Samsung tablet left behind by the Wagner computer tablet also provides evidence of the mercenaries' involvement planting mines and and booby-traps in civilian areas.
Laying landmines laid without marking where they are is a war crime under international law.
Also on the tablet is are maps in Russian of the frontline, confirming Wagner's significant presence.
A comprehensive list of weapons and military equipment is also included in a 10-page document, dated 19 January 2020.
A military analyst told the BBC that some of the weapons technology would only be available from the Russian military.
Another expert who is a specialist on the Wagner group, said the list pointed to the involvement of Dmitry Utkin.
He is the ex-Russian military intelligence man believed to have founded Wagner and given it its name, which is own former call-sign.
The expert told the BBC other key words point to the involvement of Prigozhin.
The privately-funded Wagner Group is said to have between 5,000 and 10,000 soldiers spreading chaos around the world, complete with tanks and artillery.
The company first appeared in around 2014 when they were sent to bolster Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, which the Kremlin believed to be wavering.
Their mysterious origins – and camouflage uniforms – gave rise to the nickname ‘Little Green Men’ and Putin has kept them at arm’s length.
Experts believe his is to allow them to do his dirty work while always being able to involvement when things go wrong or they are thrust into the limelight.
Since 2014 they have propped up regimes in Syria, Venezuela, the Central African Republic.
In February 2018, the privately-funded militia first came to prominence when 600 of its members attacked the SDF in northeast Syria.
Whether the Moscow-backed troops realised a number of American military advisers were part of the Kurdish group is unclear.
The assault – which lasted for four hours – was met with a barrage of US airstrikes which killed or injured around 300 of the Russians.
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