VIDEOS show capture & questioning of ‘Portuguese mercenary’ pilot shot down over Libya
Forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar on Tuesday shot down and arrested the pilot of a pro-Tripoli Mirage F1 jet, claiming he was an air force mercenary pilot of “Portuguese nationality.”
In one short clip, military personnel can be heard asking the bloodied detainee if he is military, and what he is doing in Libya. While the response is hard to decipher through the chaos, he seems to answer that he is a civilian contracted to target infrastructure.
Another clip shows part of what could have been the formal questioning, in which the man reveals his alleged name and citizenship. When asked his name, he responds “Jimmy Rees,” and then answers that he is from Portugal.
The pilot is said to have been piloting a French-made Mirage F1 warplane in the service of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which Haftar’s forces are battling for control of the war-torn country’s capital Tripoli. A separate video posted to Twitter shows clouds of black smoke at the alleged crash site.
LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari has accused the GNA of resorting to employing foreign mercenaries, and recently said that a separate Mirage F1 downed at the end of April had been piloted by an Ecuadorian national named Boris Reyes, who allegedly died during the crash.
Despite international calls for dialogue, fighting on the outskirts of Tripoli has erupted into violent conflict between Haftar’s forces and the GNA, leaving dozens dead on both sides. Libya has spiraled into chaos since NATO-backed Islamist rebels overthrew and executed the country’s long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
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