Conflicts & War

Libyan civilian killed in attack attributed to Russian mercenaries

Tripoli, Jun 30 (efe-epa).- A Libyan civilian died and another was seriously wounded in an attack attributed to alleged Russian mercenaries linked to military commander Khalifa Haftar, a source from the UN-supported Government of National Accord (GNA) said Tuesday.

Brigadier General Abdul Hadi Drah, a spokesman for the military operations center in the Sirte and Jufra regions in the center of the country, said the rocket attack took place on Tuesday morning in Wadi Tamit, a small town west of the coastal city of Sirte, 400 kilometers east of the capital.

“Haftar’s militias are continuing their criminal actions against civilians and innocent people in Sirte, which poses a threat to the population in this region,” Drah warned.

Neither the attack nor its authorship have been confirmed or denied by independent sources.

Last week, the GNA denounced the “strong presence” of Russian mercenaries in both Sirte and Al-Jufrah, Hafter’s most advanced military base in the west.

Libyan army spokesman Brigadier Mohamed Ganunu said: “Sirte has become the most dangerous place for security and peace in our country, since it has become a nest for Russian mercenaries and criminal gangs that we expelled from Tripoli and the city of Tarhouna – located 90 kilometers away southeast of the capital.”

Libya has been a failed state and victim of chaos and civil war since NATO contributed militarily to the victory of the different rebel groups against the dictatorship of Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011.

Since Hafter encircled the capital in April 2019 to wrest control from the GNA, the fighting has turned into a fully privatized multinational conflict fought by local militias and foreign Private Military and Security Companies.

The eastern-based military commander has the economic, political and military support of Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, France, Sudan and Russia, the latter two states provide him with Slavic, Syrian and African mercenaries.

The GNA is supported by Qatar, Tunisia, Italy and Turkey, the latter of which has recruited and sent more than 10,000 mercenaries to Libya since the end of last year. EFE-EPA

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