A Libyan civilian was killed in an explosion of a landmine planted by Wagner mercenaries south of the capital Tripoli, the Libyan government said on Saturday.
In a statement, the media office of the government-led Burkan Al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) Operation said the civilian died on Friday “in front of his wife and children” after a landmine exploded while “they were outing in wild areas nearby”.
It blamed a “gang of Russian Wagner mercenaries” for planting the mine before they abandoned its positions south of Tripoli.
The statement did not give details about the health conditions of the other members of the family.
Wagner security firm belongs to Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is known with the nickname “Chef” because he is responsible for catering in the Kremlin Palace. The firm is known for its mercenaries and political activities in Syria, Ukraine, Libya, and other African countries.
Wagner’s name was repeated quite often especially with regards to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s support for separatist movements in eastern Ukraine.
According to UN reports, Wagner is working for Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar with more than a thousand mercenaries.
On May 22, 2020, the Libyan army announced that Haftar’s militia had planted mines before fleeing from its positions in Salahaddin, Al-Mashrou, Ain Zara, and the wildlife areas south of Tripoli.
Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The war was exacerbated when Haftar, supported by several countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia, and France, carried out a military onslaught to topple the Tripoli-based internationally recognized government for control of the North African country.
On Oct. 23, 2020, a cease-fire was reached under the auspices of the UN, which Haftar’s militia violates from time to time.
On Feb. 5, Libyan delegates elected Mohammad Menfi to head a three-member Presidential Council and Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh the new prime minister.
*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara