Twenty-eight-year-old Libyan Mohammed Abu Ajila Enbis is alive today purely by luck as he survived the brutalities of the Russian Wagner group’s mercenaries in the war-torn country by pretending to be dead.
Speaking to Daniel Hilton from Middle East Eye, Enbis said that he lost his father, brother and brother-in-law to the mercenaries and expressed how surprised he was that he managed to survive.
Enbis had to leave his house in Esbia, a town in southern Tripoli on Sept. 23, 2019, as forces loyal to putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar intensified their attacks toward the capital.
However, when the conflict seemed to be slowing down, he decided to go back and check out his house. When explaining his mentality at the time, Enbis said he knew the risks he faced when going back to the area.
Russian mercenaries noticed Enbis when he was visiting his home, and they began to follow him. They later captured him at a house in nearby al-Hurriyeh where he was temporarily staying with his father Abu Ajila, brothers Hussam and Mohammed, and brother-in-law Hamza.
“They took our IDs and phones, and they had lots of equipment and were speaking clearly in Russian,” Enbis said.
A few hours after the initial capture, the mercenaries moved the family to another location.
“It was a hot night, and while they kept us in the back of a van they doused water over our heads. The water made our blindfolds transparent, and I could see their bright red faces and green eyes. Each Russian was big, heavily built, and one seemed to have a prosthetic leg,” Enbis remembered.
Finally, the family was taken to a farm with a concrete house, where they were forced to kneel.
“I was the last to be lined up. Then they sprayed us with bullets. I threw myself down and pretended I was dead,” he said, explaining the horrifying event.
Enbis survived without any injuries simply by chance, and his brother Hussam managed to stay alive despite a few bullets hitting his feet. The rest of the family, however, was killed during the incident.
The mercenaries, on the other hand, left the scene in a hurry, without even checking if everyone was dead.
The Wagner Group has been instrumental in assisting Russia to achieve its military goals in Ukraine, Sudan, Syria and Libya.
Russia, mainly through the Wagner Group, as well as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt have backed putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar in his fight to seize power from the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.
The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) on July 24 accused Russia of “playing an unhelpful role in Libya by delivering supplies and equipment to the Wagner group.”
The Wagner Group has 2,000 personnel in Libya, according to the command.
Hilton also reported in his article that although the ranks of the group are dominated by Russians, it also involves Serbians and Ukrainians. Hilton also highlighted Wagner’s role in training Haftar forces.