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Libyan government forces destroy Russian mercenary operations room south of Tripoli Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Libyan government forces destroy Russian mercenary operations room south of Tripoli

GNA forces have been advancing in Libya [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 May, 2020

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Forces loyal to Libya’s internationally-recognised government say they have destroyed an operations room belonging to the Russian private Wagner Security Group near Tripoli.

Libyan government forces destroyed an operations room belonging to a Russian mercenary group south of Tripoli on Tuesday night, a military spokesman said.

Abdul Malek Al-Madani, a spokesman for the UN-recognized Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service that heavy artillery strikes had destroyed the Wagner Security Group’s operations room in the Khalat Al-Ferjan area south of Tripoli.

A UN report revealed last week revealed that the Wagner Security Group, a private Russian military company, had sent between 800 and 1200 mercenaries to Libya to fight for rogue General Khalifa Haftar, whose forces launched a deadly assault against the GNA in Tripoli in April 2019.

Haftar’s forces have recently retreated in the face of the GNA’s military advances.

The Wagner Security Group is reportedly owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin, and operates in Syria and Ukraine as well as Libya.

Al-Madani said that the operations room which was destroyed contained signal-jamming equipment which helped Wagner operatives avoid detection.

GNA forces also bombed other positions belonging to Haftar’s self-styled “Libyan National Army” south of Tripoli according to Al-Madani, as well as a position west of Sirte.

They also continued strikes against the Al-Watiya airbase, which is 140 kilometres south of Tripoli. The huge base is one of Haftar’s last remaining strongholds in western Libya and has been under attack by GNA forces since last month.

Comment: Libya has been flooded with mercenaries and private military companies

GNA forces used artillery to strike the living quarters of Haftar’s troops in the base, and Said Abdul Hafiz, a Libyan security analyst, told The New Arab’s Arabic service that this signalled that their siege of the base had tightened and was nearing its end.

Also on Tuesday, the EU renewed its call for a truce in Libya amid the escalation of fighting on the ground and a war of words between Turkey, which has vowed to support the GNA, and the UAE and Egypt, which back Haftar.

The GNA has previously dismissed the international community’s statements on Libya as “timid”, saying that they do not refer to Haftar’s previous refusals to abide by ceasefires and international agreements.

In its statement, the EU said that it was committed to the EUNAVFOR Irini operation in the Mediterranean Sea, which is aimed at enforcing a UN arms embargo on Libya.

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