An Air Force veteran accused of being a mercenary was just freed from detention in Libya

Military News

A U.S. Air Force veteran held captive for six weeks by the Libyan military amid allegations that he was a hired mercenary was freed by the U.S. government on Tuesday, the Washington Post first
reported.


  • Jamie Sponaugle, a 31-year-old mechanic who served on active duty between 2006 and 2013, was captured by the Libyan National Army after his aircraft “went down” near the country’s capitol of Tripoli on May 7, several unnamed U.S. government official told the Washington Post.
  • Sponaugle was accused by the LNA, one of the two major political factions currently locked in a civil war for control of the country, of “piloting a Mirage F1, a French-made combat jet, while conducting bombing missions against its forces in the area,” according to the Washington Post.
  • On May 8, the day after Sponaugle’s reported downing, LNA claimed it had shot down a Portuguese mercenary “flying a Mirage F1 warplane of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord,” the LNA’s main political rival.
  • The Washington Post confirmed that video footage published by an Libyan media outlet that same day showed a bloodied Sponaugle receiving medical treatment and identifying himself as a 29-year-old Portuguese national named “Jimmy Rees.”
  • “It’s not clear whether Sponaugle violated U.S. law by working for or fighting with any party in Libya,” the Washington Post notes. “Many countries including the United States employ foreign security contractors, who can play a variety of roles and are sometimes armed.”
  • Read the whole story at The Washington Post

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